With Spring Break just around the corner, many Canadians – and their families – will soon take to the open road. Now is a good time for road-trippers to brush up on the important tips that can contribute to safe driving as they explore the great Canadian outdoors or enjoy an urban adventure.
Michelin Canada encourages drivers to minimize the risk of on-road emergencies simply by preparing ahead of time, conducting proper safety checks and adhering to safe driving tips.
Before heading off on your road trip, check your tires. After all, your tires are the only part of your car that touches the road.
Check your tires for wear. An easy way to check for wear is by using the quarter test. Just grab a Canadian quarter and follow these three easy steps:
- Hold the quarter between your thumb and forefinger with the quarter head facing down.
- Select a point on your tire where tread appears the lowest and insert the quarter, figurehead first into one of the grooves.
- If the top of the figurehead is covered by tread, you’re driving with the legal and safe amount of tread. If your tread gets below that, your car’s ability to grip the road in adverse conditions is greatly reduced.
Check the air pressure in your tires. Tires have been known to lose up to 1 psi (pounds per square inch) of pressure every month. Use a proper pressure gauge to check pressure when tires are ‘cold’ (before driving or three hours after driving). Make sure your tires are inflated to the psi on the sticker inside the driver’s door of your car.
Prepare for wet driving. Wet road conditions present dangers of less grip and longer stopping distance. Here are some tips to help steer you in the right direction:
- Reduce your speed. Slowing down dramatically decreases the risk of accidents in rain.
- Always drive with two hands on the steering wheel.
- Before turning, slow down in a straight line; then maintain a consistent speed throughout the turn.
- While turning, don’t make sudden steering movements.
- Increase your following distance from other cars to allow for more stopping range.
- If hydroplaning, do not accelerate or brake suddenly. Keep your foot lightly on the gas and steer the car forward until your tires regain traction.
Prepare to handle a tire blowout. This can be one of the most frightening moments on the road. The loud noise can be startling. Don’t panic, put on your hazard lights, and follow these rules to help you safely regain control:
- First, keep your foot on the gas, grip the wheel firmly and stay in your lane.
- Then, slow down gradually.
- Carefully steer toward the shoulder of the road.
‘‘Safety is our guiding principle at Michelin, and we are fully committed to helping drivers be as safe on the road as possible,” says Carl Nadeau, Michelin Driving Expert. For more tips on safe driving, visit http://www.michelin.ca/CA/en/safe-driving/tips.html