Winter driving season is upon us. Treacherous ice and automotive expenses could lie around every corner. If you’re a single car owner or you manage a whole fleet of vehicles, it’s time to be proactive, drive safer and save money on items that keep you safe in the driver’s seat. In order to be prepared for the weather out there, here are three of the most popular questions about safe winter driving.
1. Do I need snow tires?
If it gets colder than 40 degrees where you live, the answer is yes.
Snow tires aren’t just for snow. They also perform better at low temperatures than all-season tires. Because of a much more flexible composition, winter tires are softer and grippier on the road at low temperatures. All-season tires tend to stiffen when they get cold. By remaining soft, snow tires provide better traction, shorter stopping distances and less skidding in cold conditions even when there is no snow.
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2. How does the cold affect my car?
Wintertime comes with concerns that many people don’t think about, including decreased fuel efficiency. Winter air is drier and denser than warm summer air, so it takes more fuel to propel your vehicle down the road. Winter gas is also less efficient than summer gas. Gas refineries reformulate gasoline sold in winter months, adding non-combustible ingredients to lower the freezing point, which results in lower total energy output per gallon. Colder temperatures also thicken lubricants in the engine, transmission and axles, causing more friction so your engine must work harder to accomplish the same output.
One way to fight back against decreased efficiency is to make sure your tires are properly inflated. In cold weather tires are more likely to lose air pressure because air contracts when the temperature falls.
You can also save additional fuel by making your vehicle more aerodynamic. Take the time to remove all snow from your vehicle before driving and take off bulky attachments like a roof rack or bike rack.
If you’re looking for a good deal on bulk fueling, Impac Fleet offers universal fleet fuel services to help you manage expenses for commercial and government fleets of all sizes. NPP members enjoy waived costs and fees. Sign up in minutes online and save on fuel purchases at 98.9% of fueling stations nationwide.
3. How should I drive in the cold?
The most important thing is to slow down. Slow your roll when you accelerate and decelerate and give other vehicles more room. Everybody’s stopping distance is longer in winter conditions. Maintain constant speed with fewer periods of sudden acceleration and deceleration. This tactic also improves fuel efficiency. Try using a following distance of 5 to 6 seconds behind the car in front of you to give you more time to respond and allow a more gradual change of your speed.
Fuel efficiency drops off when your vehicle goes faster than 55mph, so slow down. You’ll improve your fuel savings and make driving safer for yourself and others on the road.
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So, what’s all this about NPP membership? Businesses of all sizes can sign up with NPP for free. NPP secures top discounts and special member pricing from national brands such as Staples, Verizon, Sherwin-Williams and a variety of deals on vehicle services. If you’re not already an NPP member, you should join today. There’s no obligation to buy anything, but you will probably find several greats deals that can boost your bottom line.
Stay safe out there!