Winter is here: Goodyear suggests getting 'tired'

(December 20, 2013) AKRON, Ohio — As the official first day of winter arrives, drivers are reminded that it may be time to consider a "tiring" experience. According to The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, the comfort level of driving for many motorists over the next several weeks may be dependent upon the condition of their vehicles and tires.

This seasonal advice is supported by the prediction from the forecasters at the Farmers' Almanac for a winter with widespread cold and traditionally heavy snowfalls in many areas of the U.S. and Canada.

"No one wants to get into a hazardous winter driving situation with snow, ice, slush and cold — and then wish they had better prepared for those types of conditions. That is why we say the time to prepare your vehicle for winter is before winter arrives," said Brandy Gadd, Goodyear brand manager. 

"Along with the antifreeze, battery check-ups and new wiper blades, an inspection of the tire tread should be a year-round practice, but especially as we prepare for potential slippery road conditions."

According to the Farmers' Almanac, there is a prediction for below-average temperatures for about two-thirds of the U.S., mostly east of the Continental Divide to the Appalachians, north and east through New England. They also note that the combination of below-normal temperatures and above-normal precipitation will set the stage for the Midwest, Great Lakes, and Central and Northern New England to receive lots of snow.

The group is also forecasting a cold winter for much of Canada, roughly east of the Rocky Mountains to the Eastern Great Lakes. Over the Prairies, near-normal precipitation is expected, and Ontario and Quebec could be in for a snowy winter season, according to the Farmers' Almanac.

If such predictions are true — and the Farmers' Almanac is right about 80 percent of the time — Goodyear officials said motorists should not wait any longer to enhance their traction on winter roads and highways.  It's not too late to consider getting a new set of tires for the family car or other vehicle.

Gadd recommends a set of winter tires for motorists in severe winter regions, or at least a strong set of all-season tires.

"Winter driving is all about preparation, and the key to being ready for winter is taking the necessary steps to be safe before getting behind the wheel," said Ian Law, chief instructor of the ILR Car Control School in Ontario, Canada.

Beyond properly equipping vehicles, he offers advice for motorists who will be faced with potentially slippery driving conditions this winter:

    • Match your driving speed to the current conditions. If conditions are challenging due to a slippery road surface or reduced visibility, decrease your speed. A slower driving speed allows more time for a necessary response.

    • Additional factors to consider when adjusting speed are the condition of the vehicle, its tires and your driving abilities. Always keep the posted speed limits in mind, and understand that those limits indicate the maximum speed when weather conditions are good.

    • Plan ahead and try to anticipate potentially dangerous situations. When approaching a curve or potentially slick area of the road, use the brakes effectively. The brakes should be applied only before a curve and on a straight section of the road.

    • Be alert to other vehicles. Maintain enough distance between your vehicle and the one ahead of you. If someone else seems to be following too close to your vehicle, perhaps slow down to allow them to pass – rather than speeding up to achieve a safe, distance between vehicles.

    • If visibility is poor, remember to use your lights. This helps other drivers to see you when approaching or when following. You should always turn your lights on when your windshield wipers are on.

    • Set the vehicle cabin to a comfortable temperature. This can be a challenge during winter, but it is imperative to be comfortable when driving. Cabin comfort includes keeping the windows free of frost, ice and snow.

    • Avoid overconfident driving, and avoid overestimating the vehicle's capability simply because it is equipped with anti-lock brakes, four-wheel drive, traction control or other safety devices. Do not allow good judgment and smart driving to be overtaken by a false sense of security provided by vehicle technology.

    • Before driving in inclement weather, be sure that your vehicle is properly maintained. Make sure your windshield wipers work properly; have the correct level of antifreeze for heating and defrosting the vehicle; keep plenty of gas in the tank; and always use required safety devices such as seatbelts.