NOTE: Ever locked the keys in the car?
If you lock your keys in the car and the spare keys are home just call someone on your cell phone who has another set.
Hold your cell phone about a foot from your car door and have the other person at your home or wherever press the unlock button, holding it near the phone on their end. Your car will unlock. Saves someone from having to drive your keys to you. Distance is no object. You could be hundreds of miles away and if you can reach someone who has the other "remote" for your car you can unlock the doors (or the trunk!).
The best advice for driving in bad winter weather
is not to drive at all, if you can avoid it. Don't
go out until the snow plows and sanding trucks have
had a chance to do their work, and allow yourself
extra time to reach your destination.
If you must drive in snowy conditions, make sure
your car is prepared, and that you know how to handle
road conditions. It's helpful to practice winter
driving techniques in a snowy, open parking lot,
so you're familiar with how your car handles. Consult
your owner's manual for tips specific to your vehicle.
Driving safely on icy roads
Decrease your speed and leave yourself plenty of room to stop. You should allow
at least three times more space than usual between you and the car in front
Brake gently to avoid skidding. If your wheels start
to lock up, ease off the brake.
Turn on your lights to increase your visibility
to other motorists.
Keep your lights and windshield clean.
Use low gears to keep traction, especially on hills.
Don't use cruise control or overdrive on icy roads.
Be especially careful on bridges, overpasses and
infrequently traveled roads, which will freeze first.
Even at temperatures above freezing, if the conditions
are wet, you might encounter ice in shady areas or
on exposed roadways like bridges.
Don't pass snow plows and sanding trucks. The drivers
have limited visibility, and you're likely to find
the road in front of them worse than the road behind.
Don't assume your vehicle can handle all conditions.
Even four-wheel and front-wheel drive vehicles can
encounter trouble on winter roads.
If your rear wheels skid...
A skid occurs when you apply the brakes so hard
that one or more wheels lock, or if you press hard
on the accelerator and spin the drive wheels. Skids
also occur when you are traveling too fast on a curve
and encounter a slippery surface. Skids fall into
three groups: rear-wheel skids, front-wheel skids
and four-wheel skids. Regardless of the type of skid
you encounter, to regain control of your vehicle,
DO NOT PANIC!
The most effective way to get your vehicle back
under control during a skid is as follows:
1. Take your foot off the brake if the rear wheels
skid due to hard or panic braking. Ease off the accelerator
if the rear wheels lose traction due to hard acceleration.
2. De-clutch on a car with a manual transmission
or shift to neutral (if you are certain of finding
neutral immediately) on a car with automatic transmission.
3. Look and steer in the direction you want the
front of the car to go.
4. Just before the rear wheels stop skidding to
the right or left, counter-steer until you are going
in the desired direction.
5. In a rear-wheel drive vehicle, if you over-correct
the first skid (Step 4), be prepared for a rear-wheel
skid in the opposite direction. Practice and the
use of timely, gentle movement of the steering wheel
are necessary to avoid this type of skid.
6. Once the vehicle is straight, release the clutch
or shift to drive, apply gentle accelerator pressure
so that the engine speed matches the road speed,
and accelerate smoothly to a safe speed.
If your front wheels skid...
Take your foot off the gas and shift to neutral, but don't try to steer immediately.
As the wheels skid sideways, they will slow the
vehicle and traction will return. As it does, steer
in the direction you want to go. Then put the transmission
in "drive" or release the clutch, and accelerate
If you get stuck...
Do not spin your wheels. This will only dig you in deeper.
Turn your wheels from side to side a few times to
push snow out of the way.
Use a light touch on the gas, to ease your car out.
Use a shovel to clear snow away from the wheels
and the underside of the car.
Pour sand, kitty litter, gravel or salt in the path
of the wheels, to help get traction.
Try rocking the vehicle. (Check your owner's manual
first -- it can damage the transmission on some vehicles.)
Shift from forward to reverse, and back again. Each
time you're in gear, give a light touch on the gas
until the vehicle gets going.
If you are stranded...
Do not leave your car unless you know exactly where
you are, how far it is to possible help, and are
certain you will improve your situation.
To attract attention, light two flares and place
one at each end of the car a safe distance away.
Hang a brightly colored cloth from your antenna.
If you are sure the car's exhaust pipe is not blocked,
run the engine and heater for about 10 minutes every
hour or so depending upon the amount of gas in the
To protect yourself from frostbite and hypothermia
use the woolen items and blankets to keep warm.
Keep at least one window open slightly. Heavy snow
and ice can seal a car shut.
Eat a hard candy to keep your mouth moist.
Skidding and Hydroplaning in Rainy Conditions...
Losing control of your car on wet pavement is a
frightening experience. You can prevent skids by
driving slowly and carefully, especially on curves.
Steer and brake with a light touch. When you need
to stop or slow, do not brake hard or lock the wheels
and risk a skid. Maintain mild pressure on the brake
If you do find yourself in a skid, remain calm,
ease your foot off the gas, and carefully steer in
the direction you want the front of the car to go.
For cars without anti-lock brakes, avoid using your
brakes. This procedure, known as "steering into
the skid," will bring the back end of your car
in line with the front. If your car has ABS, brake
firmly as you steer into the skid.
While skids on wet pavement may be frightening,
hydroplaning is completely nerve-wracking. Hydroplaning
happens when the water in front of your tires builds
up faster than your car's weight can push it out
of the way. The water pressure causes your car to
rise up and slide on a thin layer of water between
your tires and the road. At this point, your car
can be completely out of contact with the road, and
you are in danger of skidding or drifting out of
your lane, or even off the road.
To avoid hydroplaning, keep your tires properly
inflated, maintain good tread on your tires and replace
them when necessary, slow down when roads are wet,
and stay away from puddles. Try to drive in the tire
tracks left by the cars in front of you.
If you find yourself hydroplaning, do not brake
or turn suddenly. This could throw your car into
a skid. Ease your foot off the gas until the car
slows and you can feel the road again. If you need
to brake, do it gently with light pumping actions.
If your car has anti-lock brakes, then brake normally;
the car's computer will mimic a pumping action, when
A defensive driver adjusts his or her speed to the
wet road conditions in time to avoid having to use
any of these measures.
Driving at Night...
Traffic death rates are three times greater at night
than during the day, according to the National Safety
Council. Yet many of us are unaware of night driving's
special hazards or don't know effective ways to deal
Why is night driving so dangerous? One obvious answer
is darkness. Ninety percent of a driver's reaction
depends on vision, and vision is severely limited
at night. Depth perception, color recognition, and
peripheral vision are compromised after sundown.
Older drivers have even greater difficulties seeing
at night. A 50-year-old driver may need twice as
much light to see as well as a 30-year old.
Another factor adding danger to night driving is
fatigue. Drowsiness makes driving more difficult
by dulling concentration and slowing reaction time.
Alcohol is a leading factor in fatal traffic crashes,
playing a part in about half of all motor vehicle-related
deaths. That makes weekend nights more dangerous.
More fatal crashes take place on weekend nights than
at any other time in the week.
Fortunately, you can take several effective measures
to minimize these after-dark dangers by preparing
your car and following special guidelines while you
The National Safety Council recommends these steps:
Prepare your car for night driving. Keep headlights, tail lights, signal lights
and windows (inside and out) clean.
Have your headlights properly aimed. Mis-aimed headlights
blind other drivers and reduce your ability to see
Don't drink and drive. Not only does alcohol severely
impair your driving ability, it also acts as a depressant.
Just one drink can induce fatigue.
Avoid smoking when you drive. Smoke's nicotine and
carbon monoxide hamper night vision.
If there is any doubt, turn your headlights on.
Lights will not help you see better in early twilight,
but they'll make it easier for other drivers to see
you. Being seen is as important as seeing.
Reduce your speed and increase your following distances.
It is more difficult to judge other vehicle's speeds
and distances at night.
Don't overdrive your headlights. You should be able
to stop inside the illuminated area. If you're not,
you are creating a blind crash area in front of your
When following another vehicle, keep your headlights
on low beams so you don't blind the driver ahead
If an oncoming vehicle doesn't lower beams from
high to low, avoid glare by watching the right edge
of the road and using it as a steering guide.
Make frequent stops for light snacks and exercise.
If you're too tired to drive, stop and get rest.
If you have car trouble, pull off the road as far
as possible. Warn approaching traffic at once by
setting up reflecting triangles near your vehicle
and 300 feet behind it. Turn on flashers and the
dome light. Stay off the roadway and get passengers
away from the area.
Observe night driving safety as soon as the sun
goes down. Twilight is one of the most difficult
times to drive, because your eyes are constantly
changing to adapt to the growing darkness.
Driving in Fog...
Fog can be thought of as a cloud at ground level.
It forms when the temperature drops to the dew point
(the temperature at which air is saturated), and
invisible water vapor in the air condenses to form
suspended water droplets. Fog can reduce visibility
to 1/4 mile or less, creating hazardous driving conditions.
If you can't postpone your trip until dense fog lifts
-- usually by late morning or the afternoon -- follow
Drive with lights on low beam. High beams will only be reflected back off the
fog and actually impair visibility even more.
Reduce your speed -- and watch your speedometer.
Fog creates a visual illusion of slow motion when
you may actually be speeding.
Listen for traffic you cannot see. Open your window
a little, to hear better.
Use wipers and defrosters as necessary for maximum
Use the right edge of the road or painted road markings
as a guide.
Be patient. Do not pass lines of traffic.
Do not stop on a freeway or heavily traveled road.
If your car stalls or becomes disabled, turn your
vehicle's lights off, and take your foot off of the
brake pedal. People tend to follow tail lights when
driving in fog. Move away from the vehicle to avoid
Mud & Sand
|Sources: National Safety Council, New
York State Department of Motor Vehicles, Washington
State Government Information & Services
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