All posts by Mandy Beroza

Always Clear All the Snow and Ice off your Vehicle!

As you start your morning commute, you discover that a few inches of snow fell the night before. Not only that, but morning dew has coated it with ice, freezing it to your car’s surface. You’ve got to hit the highway or you’ll be late! In a pinch, you scrape off your windows for enough visibility, but ignore the roof and trunk, believing it will melt off on the way to work.

Unfortunately, the “melting” that occurs on the road creates a major hazard for you and other drivers, reducing visibility, sending projectiles behind and increasing your likelihood of getting into an accident. If you think that skipping this step in the short term will help you in the long run, think again!

Safety Hazards

Falling snow and sliding ice pose several roadway dangers together, such as:

  • Snow and ice can fly off your roof or trunk, creating what’s known as an “ice projectile.” When this hazard hits another motorist behind you, it can temporarily decrease their visibility, damage their windshield or cause them to swerve. On an icy road, this may lead to an accident.
  • When snow and ice start to melt, pieces may slide down your own windshield, blocking your visibility when you’re attempting to navigate slippery roads and unforeseen hazards ahead.
  • When ice and snow slide off at a fast speed, other drivers have less time to react.
  • Many drivers only scrape off part of their windows. Although time-saving, this shortcut decreases your field of vision. Snow and ice buildup can prevent you from seeing other drivers, increases your blind spot, reaction time and chances you’ll get into an accident.

Required by Law

According to Michigan automobile snow removal laws, specifically MCL 257.709 of the Michigan Vehicle Code, drivers may not operate their vehicles when there is an object that impairs the driver’s vision.

In addition, a driver may not operate a motor vehicle if rear-window visibility is obstructed, unless the vehicle has two side mirrors that are adjusted to provide a clear view of the road behind the vehicle.

In Michigan, tail lights, rear lamps and headlamps are supposed to be a certain brightness and should be seen from a certain distance. It is illegal for obstructions like snow and ice to interfere with these brightness requirements.

 

Please be safe and clear the snow and ice off your vehicle.

5 Common Mistakes People Make While Driving In The Snow

Living in Michigan, many of us have gotten used to driving in winter conditions but when we get comfortable, we make some common mistakes we shouldn’t make in the winter. Here are the top mistakes people make while driving in the snow.

5. Thinking Your Four-wheel Drive Makes You Invincible

While vehicles with four-wheel drive typically do perform better in snowy and icy driving conditions, the technology can backfire by giving drivers a false sense of safety.

Four-wheel drive is used to send the specific amount of needed torque to each of your car’s four tires to give it added traction to move forward through snowy roads. That doesn’t mean, however, that you can race down the road at top speed in the snow and bring yourself to a quick stop. Four-wheel or all-wheel drive isn’t going to give you the traction you need to brake.

4. Not Being Prepared

Many drivers find themselves caught off guard during the winter’s first snow. Drivers haven’t prepared their cars for the wintry weather, and they’ve probably forgotten their snow driving techniques from last year.

To ready your car for the winter, check that each of your tires has at least a 6/32-inch (4.8-millimeter) deep tread. All-weather tires can handle most driving conditions, but if you live in an area that gets a lot of snow, you should consider purchasing snow tires. Check your antifreeze levels and battery power and make sure that your defroster and rear window defogger work.

As far as the inside of your car goes, purchase a snow shovel and kitty litter or sand for digging yourself out and giving your vehicle traction. Flares, a flashlight and a snow scraper should also be kept in your car.

3. Following Too Closely

Many people inexperienced with driving in the snow make a bad habit out of tailing the vehicle in front of them too closely. Like driving too fast, this lessens your reaction time if there’s a problem with the vehicle ahead of you and you need to slow down suddenly.

It’s recommended that you double (or if you want to be really cautious — triple) your normal distance between cars, giving yourself a minimum braking distance of six seconds.

You should also be looking ahead for stoplights, stop signs and curves in the road so you can give yourself adequate time to brake or steer around them.

2. Slamming on the Brakes

When you feel your tires start to slip, it’s easy to panic and slam on the brakes. Don’t do it. This removes traction from your tires, taking away your ability to control your vehicle.

Once you’ve lost traction and your wheels are locked up, slamming your brakes won’t change the situation. What you should do when you feel yourself begin to skid is ease off the accelerator and let the car slow down on its own. A moving tire means that there is still some traction, which is what you need to steer yourself out of a collision.

If braking is required and your vehicle comes with an anti-lock brake system, brake with steady, even pressure. If your car doesn’t have ABS, then you should pump the brakes by quickly braking again and again.

1. Driving Too Fast

Driving too fast is one of the biggest snow driving error. Drivers have a bad habit of thinking that once they’ve reached the highway they’re fine to drive at their usual high speed. Wrong.

When your car starts to slip and you’re heading for a crash, every second counts. Driving too fast reduces the amount of time you have to react and increases the severity of any collision.

You should slow your speed when the temperature is close to freezing and sleet and snow have begun to fall. Remember that there’s no right speed zone to be traveling in when it’s snowing, so you need to pay close attention to the road conditions and how your car is handling to gauge a safe speed.

Xpert Tips for Driving Safely in the Fog

Just like there are different types of snow, there are many types of fog. You can be driving along with enough visibility and then suddenly go through a patch where you can barely see the road.

When fog’s an issue, here are our xpert tips to keep you safe on your drive.

1) Slow down and turn off your cruise control. Most crashes happen because the driver’s going too fast for weather conditions.

2) Drive with enough stopping space so you can stop in the distance you can see.

3) Don’t use high-beam headlights. They won’t shine through the fog but just reflect the light back in your eyes, making it worse for you and other drivers. Use low-beams.

4) In really dense fog, use front fog lights in addition to your low-beams if you have them. NEVER drive using only your parking or fog lights.

5) Minimize distractions. Turn off music and don’t talk on your cellphone, so you can listen for traffic you might not be able to see.

6) Keep the windshield clear and use the defroster to avoid fogged windows.

7) Avoid using your hazard lights while moving — other drivers may think you’ve stopped.

8) Use the right edge of the road, white fog line or roadside reflectors as a guide to stay in your lane.

9) Be patient. Don’t change lanes or pass other vehicles unless you really have to, and NEVER try to pass long lines of traffic in fog.

10) Don’t creep along; somebody else may crash into you. If visibility is extremely poor, exit the freeway or find a safe place to pull over.

11) If you need to stop and there’s no nearby exit, pull off the pavement as far as safely possible. Turn off your lights, set the emergency brake and take your foot off the brake to be sure your taillights aren’t lit up. Turn on your emergency flashers. Wait it out until conditions improve.

12) Never stop in the travel lanes. If you can’t pull over, go slow and sound the horn occasionally.

New Year’s Resolutions for  Safe Driving

 

Happy New Year! Many people start the new year with new resolutions for the new year! But have you thought about adding safe driving to that list? Here are four resolutions you can make to ensure a year of safe driving.

1. Never Drink and Drive

With ride sharing apps making it easier than ever to get an affordable ride, there’s no reason to get behind the wheel after you’ve been drinking. It’s always better to call a friend or family member and endure a lecture on responsible drinking than to get behind the wheel and never make it home.

Make it a resolution this year to plan ahead before events where you expect to drink. Have a designated driver or use a promotional code to get a discounted Uber or Lyft ride. Don’t forget to use public transportation, either; if you’re short on cash, it may be cheaper than using an app.

2. Put Down Your Cell Phone

Distracted driving still remains a problem among American drivers of all ages, and the biggest temptation that pulls drivers’ eyes off of the road is their cell phones. Make a resolution not to touch your cell phone from the moment you turn on your car until the moment you’re parked at your destination.

That means planning plenty of features ahead of time. Our cell phones aren’t just used for talking or texting anymore; many drivers rely on their phones for navigation or music. These features can be just as distracting as communicating with someone over the phone.

If you need to rely on a navigation app to get where you’re going, look at the map ahead of time. Put your destination in and use audio cues so you don’t have to keep glancing at your map to anticipate your next move. Mount your phone somewhere you can easily glance at it without taking your attention away from the road. That means keeping it out of your lap and instead using a device to mount it on your windshield or on your dashboard.

If you can’t drive without a good soundtrack, create a playlist of your favorite tunes before you get into the car, and start the playlist before you start driving. Decide beforehand if you need to shuffle for variety or if you’d like to go in a specific order. That way, you can listen to your tunes without constantly grabbing your phone to change a song.

It’s even better to drive with a friend. A friend can be your designated texter, caller, navigator, and DJ all rolled into one so you can focus on the road.

3. Get Enough Sleep

Most American don’t get enough sleep, but did you know that feeling tired has more consequences than just falling asleep in your morning meeting? Drowsy driving can be just as dangerous as drunk driving. After a full 24 hours without sleep, a person’s driving abilities are similar to a person with a .10 blood alcohol level, well over the legal limit of .08, according to the National Sleep Foundation.

60 percent of American adults admit to driving while drowsy, and around one-third admit to falling asleep at the wheel. Make it one of your resolutions for 2020 not to drive while drowsy.

4. Don’t Tailgate

Not tailgating is perhaps one of those rules that follows the Golden Rule of doing unto others as you would have them do unto you. Tailgating may feel satisfying when we’re driving behind an unbearable slowpoke, but when someone is tailgating us, we often feel outrage that someone would do something so dangerous. Try to remember how you would want to be treated and resist the urge to tailgate others, no matter how slowly they’re driving. The fact is that tailgating increases your risk for a car accident much more than a slow driver does. Consider not only your own safety, but also the safety of others on the road. By making not tailgating one of your resolutions, you’ll not only be keeping yourself safe, but you’ll also be increasing the safety of everyone else on the road.

How Often Should You Wash Your Car?

There are many suggestions on how, when, and why you should wash your car and there isn’t really a correct answer, but rather, a few things to consider:

Is it winter time and do they salt the roads?

If so, you should be washing your car regularly. This doesn’t mean every day, but you should most likely be heading to the wash around every week or two depending on the conditions. If the roads look white (because it’s covered in salt) every week would probably be a smart choice. Removing all that salt from under the body of the car is important for preventing heavy rust on crucial components.

Where is your car being parked?

If you’re parking your car in a garage or a heated space this can help get some of the snow off, but might actually cause the salt to settle into more places. This is why it’s very important to wash your car weekly when the salt is covering the roads. If you’re parking outside you want to be mindful of the temps outside. If it’s 20 or below the doors can freeze shut, and you can be causing more damage by washing the car. So in that case, it would be wise to just wait for a nicer day to wash your vehicle. If you’re also parking outside in the warmer months you want to be aware of tree sap or bird dropping which can cause damage to the exterior of your vehicle if left unattended.

Seasonal vehicle driving conditions

Like we mentioned before, you want to make sure you’re washing your car in the winter about every week or two to keep the salt away. In the summer if you live in a buggy state like Michigan, make sure you are washing those bug splats away. Those can eventually build up on the front of your vehicles and eat away at the paint by essentially bonding with the top coat. Also, make sure to get bird droppings off, as those can do damage similar to bug splats.

The appearance of how the car looks

Having a vehicle that looks nice is important to many people. Not just having it look good, but after spending as much money as we do on our vehicles, we want to make sure they are looking clean and tidy all year long. It’s a good idea to apply a nice coat of wax a few times a year, and also get out the vacuum to get the salt and debris off of the floor mats inside.

 

We hope this helps keep your car looking great for many years to come. The main concern is getting the salt, dirt, tree sap, and bird dropping off of your car so it doesn’t affect the quality of the paint. When the salt gets into the paint or underbody of the car, it can cause rust which can be damaging to not only the looks of your car, but also your wallet at the time of resale. So – what’s the correct answer to all of this? Salty wintery roads = about every week. Summer months or warmer conditions = maybe as needed or bi-weekly.

Just a reminder Auto Body Xperts offers hand car washes for $8 and full vehicle details (prices vary)!

Auto Body Xperts also offers FREE car washes for active military and veterans all year round! Thank you for your service to our country, we would love to service you!