(BPT) – If you’re planning to travel for the holidays this year, you’re not alone. Over 107 million people traveled last year for the holidays, according to estimates from the American Automobile Association (AAA), and more than 97 million of them did so along the nation’s highways. If you plan to join them this year, traffic and potholes aren’t the only potential problems you’ll need to navigate. Weather can also be a challenge during the holidays. According to the Federal Highway Administration, over 70 percent of the roads in the United States are located in snowy regions, which receive five inches of snow or more, on average each year.
The holidays are stressful enough, so with that in mind, Cooper Tires offers you these winter driving maintenance tips to be sure your car is ready for whatever the holiday roads have in store. Like every other aspect of your holiday celebrations, your car — and its tires — will benefit from a little preplanning.
1. Give your car a quick checkup. This is a great time to ensure all of your vehicle’s fluid levels are up to par — oil, windshield washer fluid, etc. You don’t want to be stuck without windshield washer fluid if snowy slush gets sprayed onto your windshield. This is also a good time to test your battery to see that it is still in working order. You can find how-to guides online for any of these tasks, and if you’re uncomfortable doing this yourself, you can also take your car to your mechanic for a quick inspection.
2. Be sure your tire tread is in good shape. When it comes to winter weather driving, a general rule is that the more tread depth, the better. A tire’s minimum tread depth should be more than 2/32 of an inch deep all around the tire. You can check your tread depth by inserting the edge of a penny into the tread with Lincoln’s head down, and facing you. If the top of Lincoln’s head is covered by tread, there is at least a minimum amount of tread left. If the top of his head is visible at any point around the tire, it’s time for a replacement. While you’re examining the tread, you can also look for signs of uneven wear or damage such as cuts, cracks, splits, punctures and bulges. These conditions shorten the life of tires or even cause tire failure.
3. Have the right tires for your needs. While all-season tires are a great choice for many people, if you live in an area that routinely experiences extremely cold temperatures and/or heavy snowfall — or plan to travel to one during the holidays — you should add winter tires to your vehicle. Winter tires are specifically designed to improve braking and handling on snow and ice. The Discoverer True North™ winter tire from Cooper Tires is designed to provide the perfect combination of control and handling for confident winter driving, while maintaining a tight grip to the road in cold weather conditions. This helps allow you to keep excellent control while driving in any winter conditions, and also maintain a smooth, quiet and comfortable ride.
4. Pack an emergency kit in your car. Depending on where you are traveling, the road may take you through areas that aren’t so populated. And if your car breaks down in one of these areas, finding help can be difficult. Your kit should include water, a blanket, a battery-powered phone, some non-perishable food, a first-aid kit and the tools you would need to change a tire.
5. Prepare for the weather. Winter weather can be unpredictable, and the last thing you want to do is feel like you are racing somewhere so as not to be late. Driving in ice or snow is an everyday part of life for the owners of more than 250 million vehicles across the country, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. If you will be among them, allow extra time in your holiday plans so that you can drive slower in bad weather or even pull over and spend the night in a hotel if necessary. Remember: It’s more important that everyone show up for the holiday festivities rather than when they show up.
To learn more about Cooper’s Discoverer True North™ tires, visit www.coopertire.com.