ACtion Magazine - March 2015 - (Page 10)

Winter driving myths H urricanes have long been given names by weather forecasters and now winter storms are also being named. The forecasts for January's Winter Storm Juno predicted eight to twelve inches of snow for my area, but less than two inches actually fell. On the other hand, the Boston metropolitan area and surrounding parts of New England were hit with two feet of snow by that same storm. Whenever the change of seasons swings around to winter and storms are predicted, bread, milk, and eggs are certain to disappear from grocers' shelves. A lot of french toast must be eaten during these storms. When a winter storm hits anywhere that is not exempt from snowfalls, you can bet that you will see television images of vehicles sliding on roadways and crashing, and news stories on safe driving tips for the weather. It can take anywhere from four to ten times longer to stop a vehicle on ice and snow than it does on dry pavement. Over the years a number of these "tips" have been broadcast, but due to technological and other improvements in vehicles some of these tips have become driving myths. More worrisome is the advent of new winter driving myths that are accepted as truisms by drivers. The tires on your vehicle are either the culprit (when your vehicle starts sliding) or the savior (you have taken some air out of your tires before driving for a better grip, and you are not connected to Deflategate). Winter tires are still the best choice for your vehicle. Summer tires and even all-season tires can become hard in cold weather, while winter tires are meant to remain pliable when the temperature drops and to better maintain traction on the road in wintry conditions. Underinflating the tires on a 10 ACTION * March 2015 vehicle can actually damage the tires and takes away from the tires' performance, safety, and effectiveness. The sidewalls of the tires on your vehicle are not designed to handle the friction of the road. I am sure that this scene does not only occur in my area of the country - the driver of a vehicle with allwheel drive speeding at a higher rate of speed than others on a road because " ...myths that are accepted as truisms... an all-wheel drive vehicle is invincible in snow and ice. Though there may be a greater margin of error where the grip of the tires is spread out on all four tires, the vehicle is not necessarily safer in such wintry weather conditions. Four-wheel drive on a vehicle does not improve the stopping or cornering abilities of the vehicle. Similarly, having an anti-lock braking (ABS) system in the car just adds to the invincibility of the driver and his/her vehicle on snow and ice covered roads, right? Wrong. As with many features in a car, the ABS systems in newer cars will substantially outperform the systems in cars made from the 1980s through the early 2000s. And you lose steering control when you lock up brakes. Another winter driving myth is that you should not let the gas tank go below one-half of a tank of gas. If the gas tank is not full or near full, the myth is that the gas may freeze. The gasoline in the tank of your car should never freeze in almost every condition where you are driving on Keith Leonard, Esquire the road. The freezing point of gasoline has been measured at between -40 to -50 degrees Celsius (-40 °C = -40 °F and -50 °C = -58 °F). You may have been told that you should let your car warm up before you begin driving in cold weather, but how long does that warming up process need to take? The fluids in a car should have circulated if you let your car warm up anywhere from thirty seconds to two minutes before putting the car in gear and driving off. And the fuel efficiency of the car drops by twelve or more percent in cold weather, but you do not need to let the car idle for at least five minutes unless you like to fill up at the gas pump more often. You should always clear snow off a car off before driving including the roof of the car. And do not pour hot water on the windshield to melt the ice; unless you like chancing a cracked windshield. ❆ Remember that laws are constantly changing and are often not uniform throughout the United States. Do not place unqualified reliance on the information in this article. Always contact legal counsel for detailed advice. If you have a particular issue, law or problem you would like to see addressed in a future column, please contact me at KLeonard@LeonardSciolla. com, or Leonard, Sciolla, Hutchison, Leonard & Tinari, LLP, 215-567-1530.

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ACtion Magazine - March 2015

Engine cooling systems: Electric cooling fan operating strategies
System Charge Determination
Service Port
Leonard's Law
Virtual View
Heavy duty and off road
Last Watch
Coolin Corner
Letters to the Editor
By the numbers
Industry News
Association News
In Memoriam
New Products

ACtion Magazine - March 2015