December 1, 2004

Bridgestone offers winter driving tips for SUV drivers

Mississauga, ON – There are SUV-specific winter driving techniques that should be followed in order to avoid accidents when the sleet, snow and ice come this winter, says Mark Cox, Executive Director of the Bridgestone Winter Driving School.

“Because SUVs are big, they often carry a perception of invincibility,” says Mark Cox, Executive Director of the Bridgestone Winter Driving School. “But even though SUVs and four-wheel drive can be an asset in snow and icy winter driving, they come with an increased responsibility of which all drivers should be aware.”

Tips for safe winter SUV driving include:

  1. Brake With Caution And Earlier: SUVs can weigh as much as two to three times a typical car. This can make stopping on sleet or ice-covered roadways tricky. Stay aware of the distance between you and the cars in front and behind you and begin your braking sequence earlier than normal.

  2. Watch Your Fuel: Driving in four-wheel drive will burn gas faster than typical driving. During colder months, fill up more often to keep your gas tank at least half full. The fuel reserve will be important if you get stuck in traffic, plus it will add more weight to your vehicle which will help with traction on the road.
  3. Turn With Care: Because of its powerful engine, a four-wheel drive SUV may get up to speed faster from a stop than many smaller cars. Be sure to allow for this faster pick-up and possibly the higher centre of gravity of the vehicle when turning corners or making lane changes. If you’re approaching a turn while in motion, brake earlier than normal, remove your foot from the brake at the beginning of the turn and steer into the curve. This will provide the most tire grip to avoid skidding or sliding sideways. This tip is important to remember in all seasons.
  4. Watch Your Tires: Four-wheel drive doesn’t guarantee good traction – all four of your tires need to have good tread and be inflated to the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended air pressure. As the winter months get colder, air in tires contract which reduces the tire air pressure one pound per square inch for each 5-degree Celsius (10-degree Fahrenheit) drop in temperature, so check your inflation pressure more frequently during the cold months. Under-inflation will lessen the gripping action because the tire tread will not meet the road surface as designed to do.

  5. Don’t Be Overconfident: SUVs are seen as big and tough, but they’re not invincible and come with extra responsibilities. Practice safe, defensive driving techniques all winter long and always wear a seat belt.

Additional winter driving tips can be found at the Bridgestone Blizzak Chill Zone.

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