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How-to: Manage Salt on the Road During Winter

Winter brings slick driving conditions. Depending on where you live, snow and ice can build up on the road. In order to counteract that, many regions put down road salts to help melt ice. While this can really help melt the ice on the roads, it can negatively affect your vehicle. Learn how to manage salt on the road during winter.

How-to: Manage Salt on the Road During Winter: Protecting Your Vehicle

Why Salt?

Cities and states put salt on the road because it actually lowers the freezing point of water. 32 degrees Fahrenheit is the temperature at which water normally freezes. However, when water is exposed to salt, the temperature needs to be lower than 32 in order to get the water to freeze. In fact, the more salt you add, the colder it needs to be for water to freeze. If you treat the roads with a layer of a salt and water mix, this helps to keep the roads from freezing over. Therefore, they are safer for vehicles to drive on.

However, if the road temperature goes below 15 degrees Fahrenheit, the salt may not be enough to keep the roads from freezing. In this case, road crews may add sand to the top of the ice to provide more traction.

Salt and Your Vehicle

While salt on the road is helpful for keeping drivers safe, it is actually not good for your vehicle. Salt can cause any exposed metal on your car to start to corrode. This can be an issue for people living on an island surrounded by salt water, or those who drive on roads with salt brine on them. The brake and fuel lines are located near the undercarriage of the car. This area is where most of the salt damage happens. Therefore, the brake and fuel lines are very susceptible to rust and corrosion.

What to Do

In order to protect against salts on the road during winter, it’s important to be proactive. Give your car a good wax job to help protect the finish. If you have any scrapes, chips, or rust spots, go ahead and have those fixed before winter weather hits. Make sure to wash your car often. Spray down your car to wash away the salt. Invest in a car wash that will clean the undercarriage every few weeks in order to clean the areas of your car most likely to be affected by salt. Also, if you get on the road behind a truck spraying salt on the roads, stay back. This will keep your car from getting sprayed with salt too.

How-to: Decide if Someone Should Borrow Your Car

If you would like to learn more, check out this video about the risks of letting someone borrow your car.

We have all had it happen before. A friend or family member could be without a car for any given reason, and they ask to use yours. Maybe theirs is in the shop for maintenance or even for repairs after an accident. They could have flown into town to visit you. Perhaps their kid needed to borrow theirs so they are without one. There are plenty of reasons that someone may ask you to borrow their car. What you need to decide on is if you are willing to let someone borrow your car.

How-to: Decide if Someone Should Borrow Your Car: Weighing the Risks

Driving History

Before you let anyone borrow your car, you should consider what kind of a driver they are. Do you know they are a terrible, reckless driver? You may want to think twice about letting them drive your car. They will be unfamiliar with your car, so putting a bad driver in a vehicle they are unfamiliar with could be a total disaster. Also, consider things such as if your friend or a family member has a history of having a DUI. Anything that could mean a bad driving record should be a red flag to you.

Insurance

You will also want to consider your car insurance before you let someone borrow your car. This could come into play if the person driving your car is involved in an accident. Car insurance follows the vehicle, not the driver. When you allow a friend, family member, or babysitter to borrow your vehicle, your insurance takes primary coverage. For example, the person if your car is not at fault, the driver who is at fault will have to use their insurance to cover the damage. However, if the person who is using your car is at fault,  your insurance would likely cover the damage to the other driver’s car. In addition, your liability coverage would likely pay for any injuries or damage to the other driver as well.

Unless you have collision coverage, your insurance would not cover damage to your own car. Plus, if you do end up repairing damages using your collision coverage, you will probably have to pay your deductible. This would be the case even though you weren’t driving at the time of the accident. Keep this in mind when you consider whether or not you want to loan out your car.

How-to: Spot a Drunk Driver on the Road

No one wants to be out on the road with a drunk driver. They are a hazard that can cause accidents, injuries, or even death. Their judgement will be impaired, making them very dangerous. When you are driving, you will want to know what to be on the lookout for so that you can avoid an intoxicated driver.

How-to: Spot a Drunk Driver on the Road: Safe Driving

Not Staying in Their Lane

It is common for a drunk driver to not be able to stay in his or her lane. Watch out for anyone who seems to be swerving or zig-zagging in and out of their lane. Another sign of someone who is driving while intoxicated is drifting. This is when someone is moving in a straight-line at a slight angle to the roadway. Additionally, it is possible for someone who is drinking and driving to be in the center or on the wrong side of the road. This could lead to a deadly, head-on collision.

Delayed Reactions

An impaired driver will have delayed reactions and erratic movements. This is because alcohol impairs your judgement and reaction time. Slowly reacting to traffic signals. A drunk driver may be slow to react to traffic signals. The car may signal lane changes that are not consistent with the driver’s actions. Also, they may also turn very suddenly, abruptly or way too wide. Another sign would be speeding up or slowing down too quickly or slowly for the conditions. These reactions are going to be things that police officers will look out for as well.

Night Driving

Keep in mind that is may be difficult to even see a drunk driver coming at night. This is because they may not remember to turn on their lights. This can pose an even greater threat to the possibility that they could also be driving on the wrong side of the road. You have to make sure that you area alert and prepared with defensive driving techniques so that you can react as quickly and safely as possible.

How-to React

Do not try and chase down a drunk driver. You never know how the driver could react, so certainly do not attempt to detain them if you do catch up to them. Put distance between your car and their car, because you do not know how they will react. Do a check to make you that all of your passengers buckle up, in case you do get in an accident.

One of the best steps you can take is to call the 911 and report the driver. Give them as much information as you can about the car and driver. This may include the location of the car, or the vehicle’s color, make and model. Try and make note of the license plate as well, so that it helps the police or medics be able to easier find the driver. Keep in mind that a person who looks like they are driving impaired could actually be having a medical emergency. Therefore, getting them help right away could be crucial to saving their life, and preventing an accident.

Driving Safely in Snow

Winter in the South is pretty unpredictable. Will we South and North Carolinians get a season of ice? Rain? Maybe a little snow? We never can be too sure, although we usually get at least one good snow in the South. For this reason, it’s important that a solid technique for driving safely in snow be well within your wheelhouse. But what steps can you take, besides staying home, to keep yourself safe when outside looks more like a winter wonderland than normal? 

Driving Safely in Snow: Tips for Winter Trips 

Look Further Ahead 

When it’s cold and wet and frosty, you might find yourself focusing solely on the road ahead of you. After all, there are immediate dangers to account for. But, force yourself to take turns between looking closely and looking further ahead. You might see brake lights, patches of black ice, a car accident, wet spots, or another unexpected roadway obstruction. For these reasons, driving safely in the snow starts with thinking clearly, being on high alert, and looking at the road conditions around you. They can change rapidly. 

Be prepared to skid and slide 

No matter how dedicated you are to driving safely in the snow, a little bit of skidding and sliding is very common in this type of weather. Prepare for this possibility and understand the best ways to combat the problem. Drive slowly, don’t slam on the breaks, turn your hazards on, and remain calm. Review your front and rear wheel skidding techniques. Being from the South, we don’t experience this type of weather all that often so it can be scary. If you’re not prepared to deal with it, there’s no shame in staying home, asking for a ride, or walking to your destination if it’s close by!

Don’t fall for false senses of security, such as four wheel drive 

Lastly, and most importantly, don’t put your faith into one function, feature, or item more than you put into your own ability to drive safely in show. Four-wheel drive, snow tires, or snow chains are fantastic tools for increasing safety. But don’t expect them to do the work for you. You have to remain focused, attentive, and cautious when driving— even if you have some mechanisms in place to make that trip just a bit safer. You never know when these safety features might fail you. 

Types of Roads: Highways, Roads, and Interstates

When you are driving, you will notice there are so many different types of roads out there. From roads and streets to highways and freeways, you may wonder why they all have different names. It may seem very random as to how they assign names to the roads. Believe it or not, there is actually a method to how they assign road types as parts of names.

Types of Roads: What They Are

Large Roads

There is a category for the larger, higher capacity roads. There are many types of roads in this grouping. First, there is a highway, which is a major public road that usually connects multiple cities. Next, there are interstates. These are a large, federally funded network of roads that are part of a highway system. They may go between states, but don’t have to. Then, there is a turnpike, which is a part of a highway, and usually a toll road. Another part of the highway system is freeways. They are a large road with two or more lanes on each side. In addition, parkways are a large, decorated public road. A causeway is a raised road that passes across low or swampy ground or water. Additionally, a beltway is a highway that surrounds a city. As you can see, there are many different types of roads.

Smaller Roads

There are also smaller, lower capacity roads. This is also made up of many types of roads. The most common type is a road. It is a way that connects two points. Another type of road is a street. These are a public way with buildings on both sides. Often, they are perpendicular to an avenue. Avenues are very similar to a streets, and are common when driving in cities.

A lane is a narrow road that is often found in a rural area. Drives are often winding, and potentially long, roads that hug mountains or lakes. A way is a small street off a road. Ending in a circle or a loop, courts do not provide a throughway. Lastly, an ally is a small pathway between buildings. These may or may not be drivable. 

As you can tell, there are many different types of roads. This list is not all inclusive, so there are many more. Now you know how they assign road types. When you see road names in the future, the designation will hopefully make more sense.

Being in an Auto Accident: What to Do

Being in an auto accident can be really scary. You can never be fully prepared for an accident, no matter the circumstance. However, if you are aware of what to do after an accident, things may feel a little less overwhelming. Learn what you should be doing after being in a car accident.

Being in an Auto Accident: Keep These Things in Mind

Check for injuries

The first thing to do after being in an auto accident is to check for injuries on yourself and your passengers. Once you have determined if you are able to move or not, try to find a safe space outside of the vehicle. However, if you think that staying in the car is safer due to the environment where the accident happened, then stay in the vehicle.

Call 911

If you are able to move to safety after being in an auto accident, do so, and also call 911. While you are waiting for emergency services to arrive, make sure to turn off your vehicle’s engine and turn on your hazard lights.

Once the police and other emergency services arrive, make sure any people injured are addressed first.Next, have the officer file a police report. They will get information from you and any other driver that was involved in the accident. Some states require that an official report be made by local law enforcement of any accidents.

Keep calm

Emotions will be high after being in an auto accident, so try to stay calm. The police will determine fault, not you or the other drivers. Keep any conversations cordial and make sure to get insurance information from all the other drivers involved.

Take Photos and Videos

After being in an auto accident, it may be a good idea to take several pictures at the site of the accident. You can use your smartphone or any other camera you may have. Make sure to take pictures of all vehicles involved from multiple angles and also pictures of the location where it happened. These pictures may prove to be very helpful when filing the accident with your insurance provider.

Log Everything

Log everything you remember happening and contact your insurance provider after being in an accident. A dash cam is incredibly helpful. If you do not have one, make sure to note down all the events leading up to the accident. Try to remember every detail you can as this may help later with claiming the accident with your insurance provider. After you have noted down all the details you can remember, call your insurance provider and report the accident.