When I first learned how to drive all those long years ago, my father insisted that I learned on a standard AND in the winter. This is because where I live has a pretty rough winter and the worst drivers in the world.
When FORD came offering a Winter Driving School I jumped at the chance. I mean really, I have had my share of fender benders, and I now drive a minivan, so I thought the refresher would be a good idea.
I thought it would be a regular boring driving class but it turned out to be so much more. We were treated to a lovely meal at Noteable (vegan to boot), then we had a refresher on some of the things that we probably forgot from our driver’s ed. This was such an interesting part of the day. I actually did learn quite a lot! After lunch we were transported to Winsport Canada.
Not only did FORD hire Nascar driving instructors but we also got to drive on a real closed course at Winsport Canada. Now, I have always had an affinity for speed, and in my younger years I really wanted to try out racing, but 4 kids and my trusty minivan later that is just a pipe dream. However, getting to drive these cars in a safe closed course really did get my heart pumping.
So here they are, my 5 Top Winter Driving Tips from FORD.
1. Winter Tires.
Yea, I know, everyone else already has winter tires. I honestly did not think that they made *that* much of a difference until I was NOT sliding around every turn. They really do have a lot more traction and lead to much more stability. As soon as I got home I ordered some for my van, and I am so glad that I did. Seriously, they are worth the money.
2. Emergency Kit.
An emergency can happen at any time. It’s important to be prepared. We already keep an emergency kit in our van since the husband is a first responder, but FORD did remind me to add new granola bars and take out my expired ones. They also reminded me to change out the clothes that I have since my kids are always growing. Other things to include are jumping cables, a tow rope, extra gloves, tire iron, water, emergency candle, and blankets. (You can order a kit here.)
3. Tire Pressure.
This is one of those things that I completely ignore. My sensors don’t work in the winter and so they are always showing that I don’t have enough air in the tires. I learned that the PSI recommended for my vehicle is actually located on the inside of the driver side door frame. It’s important to get those tire pressures correct – it’s the difference between trying to drive on tires that act like pucks across the ice, and getting some traction.
4. ABS Brakes.
One of the amazing things that I learned about FORDs new vehicles is that they all come with standard ABS brakes and that allows you to steer while braking. I can honestly say the first time that I tried this on the course I was a little scared as not being able to steer out is why I have a couple (okay more than a couple) bumps on my front bumper. If I had this in my van, my husband would be a lot happier with me.
5. ESC – Electronic Stability Control
This is the most amazing feature ever, and when we go to buy a new vehicle when the van kicks the bucket, I will be making sure that it has this. Basically, when you start to spin out the vehicle detects which wheels are losing grip and brake them so that you regain the control. So as long as you are pointing the car in the direction that you want to go, you will not spin out at all. (sorry to all those kids who will never get to do donuts in empty parking lots.)
I really enjoyed the course. It was so exhilarating to drive a closed course without my kids in the car and feel what these new vehicles can do – especially in conditions that they would be used in the most in Canada.
I think that it would be nice if when you were deciding on a new car that the test drives all included something like this. I bet it would change your mind on what car that you would actually buy in the end.