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Recreation Advocate

The OutdoorWire family websites feature news and information affecting outdoor recreation opportunities and access to public lands. 
3 minutes reading time (679 words)

Preparing for a safe winter driving season

It May Be Warm Now, But Winter is on the Way

CHARLOTTE, NC – (September 24, 2008) – It may still be just the beginning of Autumn, but it’s also prime time to start thinking ahead to Winter.

Of course the first thing that comes to mind when prepping your car for winter is tires, because once the temperature drops below 45-degrees Fahrenheit, so does an all-season tire’s ability to grip the road. Colder weather brings on a whole new set of driving challenges – slush, ice and hard packed snow. And even with all of the performance capabilities built into today’s vehicles, they will only perform as steadily and responsively as their tires allow.  And in extreme winter weather, that can mean the difference between focused braking power and out-of-control handling.
“It’s a fact: as temperatures drop below 45-degrees Fahrenheit, so does an all-season tire’s ability to grip the road.  And that can lead to dangerous driving conditions,” said Joerg Burfien, director of R&D, Continental Tire North America, Inc.  “Since all-season and winter tires are about as similar as sandals and snowshoes, we’ve launched a program to encourage our customers to stay safer in winter by switching to Continental Winter Tires.
“Summer tires just aren’t built to hold the road in the same way that winter tires do,” Burfien continued.  “During winter, drivers experience a dramatic drop in grip, meaning longer stopping distances, less driving control and by far, less safety.”
Winter tires are uniquely designed to deliver safety and control in snow, ice, and cold weather conditions, because they are specially engineered to deliver a substantial increase of traction over all-season radials – by as much as a 25 to 50 percent. That’s enough gripping traction and braking power to avoid a severe weather-related accident.

ContiWinterContact™ winter tires are engineered with pliable tread compounds and tread designs that remain soft and flexible in even the coldest temperatures, increasing the contact area and providing better grip on wet or icy roads.  Tread design features include more supple compounds, deeper tread grooves and smaller shoulder grooves.
The Continental winter tire lineup includes:
The ContiWinterContact TS810 -- engineered to handle unpredictable snow and wet driving conditions.
The ContiWinterContact TS810 S – built for winter driving performance.
The ContiWinterContact TS790 -- a state-of-the-art winter tire featuring exceptional handling and braking at low temperatures.

Once your car is properly outfitted with the right tires for the season, there are a number of other steps drivers can take to make sure their car is ready for when the cold weather comes.  Now is the time to give your car a thorough checkup.  You can do most of these jobs yourself, but some work really must be done by a professional.
Radiator: Add a dose of antifreeze to the coolant
Shocks: Should be checked.  Defective shock absorbers increase braking distance and shorten the lifetime of tires
Wiper fluid: Add a dose of frost protector
Battery: Check the acid level for optimum performance
Spark plugs: check for wear and replace if necessary
Lights:  Check and align properly for maximum efficiency
Be sure to include the following equipment in your trunk: a set of jumper cables, a snow brush/ice scraper and a de-icing spray
Winter tires: Set the pressure 2.9 psi higher than what is recommended for summer tires
Once you’ve given your car a thorough checkup, the best protection against breakdowns and accidents in winter is driving with foresight.  This includes taking extra care on bridges or at traffic lights, as well as keeping a greater following distance from the car in front.
“Really, the best advice we can offer drivers is to use common sense,” Burfien said.
For more information, visit www.CTNAMedia.com.
With targeted annual sales of more than $40 billion for 2008, the Continental Corporation is one of the top automotive suppliers worldwide. As a supplier of brake systems, systems and components for the powertrain and chassis, instrumentation, infotainment solutions, vehicle electronics, tires and technical elastomers, the corporation contributes towards enhanced driving safety and protection of the global climate. Continental is also a competent partner in networked automobile communication. Today, the corporation employs approximately 150,000 people at nearly 200 locations in 36 countries.
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