More Americans will be hitting the roads this holiday weekend. In fact, AAA estimates about 42 million Americans will travel more than 50 miles from home this year. And with cold weather on the horizon, driving might get a little tricky. On "The Early Show on Saturday Morning" Car Care Council auto expert Lauren Fix, "the car coach" and author of "Lauren Fix's Guide to Loving Your Car," offered some tips on how to drive safely in winter weather:
BEFORE YOU DRIVE: INSTALL WINTER WIPER BLADES
Ninety percent of your driving decisions are based on visibility, so it is important to see and be seen. Many people forget to change to winter wiper blades, and then back again. So I just found a blade that can be used year round, get the latest in wiper blade technology from Trico. It's got a unique shape-that creates uniform pressure across the windshield, providing a consistent wipe. They are meant to perform well under winter weather conditions.
BEFORE YOU DRIVE: GET POLARIZED SUNGLASSES
Good quality sunglasses help highlight changes in the terrain and road surface even in low visibility conditions. Polarized lenses are your best choice. There's going to be water on the ground, snow on the ground. Ice on the ground. Even if it's a cloudy day, those things are going to reflect light, and it will make driving more difficult. So invest in a good pair of polarized sunglasses now and always have them on when you're driving in the winter.
BEFORE YOU DRIVE: CHECK TIRE PRESSURE EVERY MONTH
It's also important to make sure that you are checking your tire pressure. Winter temperatures make it extremely important to keep an eye on your tire pressure. You should check it once a month with a tire pressure gauge.
BEFORE YOU DRIVE: ADJUST SEAT WITH CHEST ONE FOOT FROM WHEEL
Before you hit the roads this winter, you should also make sure that your seat is adjusted properly. In order for the airbag to deploy and actually protect you, you need to be seated so that the center of your chest is one foot away from the center of your wheel.
ON THE ROAD: USE GAS PEDAL TO YOUR ADVANTAGE
A lot of people are always quick to jump on the brakes when they are driving in the wintertime. They come upon situations, ice, snow, etc that scare them, and the first thing they do is hit the brake. But people should think to use the gas as well. Use the gas pedal and not the brake to get away from the situation. When you use the gas, you have control and can control where your car is going to go, and you don't necessarily have that advantage with the brakes.
ON THE ROAD: BREAK BEFORE THE TURN
But, there are those moments where you will need to use the brake, so you want to be sure to use them correctly. When roads are slippery, always brake in a straight line before the curve in the road. Taking your foot off the brake before you steer into the corner allows you to use the entire grip available for steering. Don't accelerate until the steering wheel is straight.
ON THE ROAD: TURN INTO THE SKID
Many people are flustered when they end up in a skid and turn the wheel the wrong way and make everything worse. What you want to do is turn into a skid and then use the gas lightly to drive out of it.