Winter Driving Tips in Kansas City
Learn About Car Maintenance, Parking, and More, from Zeck Ford in Leavenworth, KS
Seeing snow on the ground lights up something in our hearts, harkening us back to childhood, or at the very least leaving us breathless with its beauty. But winter weather doesn’t always make for comfortable driving conditions; snow, sleet, and freezing rain can all lead to accidents, parking frustrations, and new maintenance needs.
The team at Zeck Ford, Kansas City’s choice for new vehicles and used vehicles, has a few driving tips to help you take the right precautions while behind the wheel in the winter.
Driving on Icy or Slick Streets
When you have to drive on icy roadways, set yourself up for success by making sure your tires are aired up and that you have at least a half-tank of gas at all times. You also should carry with you a set of extra cold-weather clothing, including a coat and snow pants, and emergency supplies, like a flashlight, emergency flares, food, and water. Should you get stranded, you’ll be prepared to wait a while. Consider also swapping out your regular tires for winter tires.
While driving, accelerate and decelerate slowly, and avoid coming to a complete stop if you can. For example, if you’re approaching a red light, slow down enough that you can keep rolling until it changes to green. We recommend driving in low gears, like first or second, even if you have an automatic transmission. Use your gear shifter to put yourself there and stay there. Lower gears increase torque, which contributes to traction – and it helps you go more slowly, too.
Maintain a safe following distance in case you begin to slide. While most people count “One Mississippi, Two Mississippi” between their cars in good driving conditions, give yourself a few more seconds of space between you and the vehicle ahead of you. If you do feel like your car has begun to slide, slamming on your brakes is one of the worst things you can do, although it is usually reflex to do so. Instead, pump your brakes and slowly steer into the slide until you feel your wheels grip the pavement again.
Parking Your Car in Kansas City or Leavenworth
Without a doubt, the best place to park your car is in an enclosed area, shielded from the sun, snow, and rain. We know this isn’t always possible for everyone in the Kansas City area, so you can take other steps to find a good place to park in the case of snow this winter.
If the only place available to you to park is near ice or snow patches, at the very least, look for a flat surface to park your car. Even with your car in park, it can slide downhill on ice.
Review your city’s parking rules during snow emergencies to ensure you won’t be towed, get a ticket, or sustain snow plow damage. Depending on where you live in the Kansas City metro area, these rules could be quite different.
In west central Missouri and eastern Kansas, our winter weather patterns are known for quite a few ice storms. As such, we don’t recommend parking under trees. The weight of ice and snow on branches weigh them down, causing them to snap and fall. They’ll hit whatever’s underneath, leaving you with an insurance claim and body damage that will need to be repaired in the Zeck Ford body shop.
Extend the Life of Your Car by Keeping it Clean
Your car came to you looking good! But as you drive during the winter, your tires kick road salt underneath your vehicle and onto the sides of its body. Because salt is corrosive, over time, it can eat away at your car’s paint or cause rust to begin forming.
Prevent or slow salt damage by having it washed – including the undercarriage – after every major snowstorm, or otherwise every two weeks, to rinse away damaging compounds or chemicals that have collected. Wax can protect your paint.
Change Your Windshield Wiper Blades for the Season
Certainly one of the most affordable replaceable parts on your car, windshield wiper blades are also one of the most important for driving safely during foul weather. Extend the life of your windshield wiper blades by taking good care of them.
If you must park outdoors during a winter storm, pull your entire wiper blade up and away from your vehicle, so they’re standing almost vertically. Doing so helps prevent ice build-up and keeps them from freezing to the windshield and becoming utterly useless.
Always make sure your wipers are turned off before turning off your car. You don’t want them to come on as soon as you start your car the next day, only to streak across rough ice build-up and ruin the rubber.
Four-Wheel Drive and All-Wheel Drive
Although they can make winter driving a little smoother, neither a four-wheel nor an all-wheel drivetrain are the foolproof solution to safety concerns. You’ll still need to drive slowly and responsibly on icy streets and roads in Jackson County, Johnson County, Wyandotte County, Clay County, Platte County, and the other surrounding areas in snow storms, just like you would anywhere else any other time.
However, if you’re looking to upgrade to a new car or used car that happens to have one of these drivetrains, come to Zeck Ford at 4501 S. 4th Street in Leavenworth, where we have a huge inventory of vehicles for sale with AWD and four-wheel drive at the best prices available. Shop online to start your car-buying process.