December 11, 2007

Motorists unsure about cold-weather driving, says GMAC Insurance

St. Louis, Missouri – A new survey released by GMAC Insurance and Road Safe America reveals that many American drivers are unsure of proper vehicle operational procedures when driving in freezing temperatures. More than one-third of drivers surveyed could not correctly indentify the proper use of cruise control and underestimated how full to keep their fuel tanks.

The survey found that 36 per cent of licensed drivers believe it’s safe to drive with cruise control activated if the temperature is below freezing. However, the two organizations said that the safest course of action is to avoid cruise control altogether; despite clear weather, accumulated moisture combined with freezing temperatures could lead to icy conditions, some of which are undetectable.

When asked about gas tank levels, 31 per cent said the level didn’t matter, 4 per cent said one-eighth of a tank, 28 per cent said one-quarter and 37 per cent said one-half tank. The agencies recommend keeping the tank as full as possible, at least one-half full, which maximizes the length of time occupants can run the engine as a source of heat in an emergency.

GMAC and Road Safe America also suggest that drivers create a “safety kit” of extra washer fluid, gloves and hat, flashlight, jump starter, tire gauge, safety flares and blanket; give the vehicle a check-up, including tire pressure, lights and horn; avoid using lights inside the vehicle when driving in the dark; avoid glare from snow with sunglasses and clean the windshield regularly; and secure packages in the back seat or on the floor.

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