Tips for driving in winter weather

Author: Transportation Services

Icy Roads

Notre Dame Transportation Services recommends taking the following actions to prepare for driving in winter weather.

  1. Check Tire Tread. Make sure tread depth is sufficient – put a quarter in the tread with Washington’s head first. If you can see the top of Washington’s hair, you have 4/32 of tread or less. Less than that won’t grip well in snow and ice. A Lincoln penny headfirst in the tread with the top of Lincoln’s head showing means 2/32 of an inch or less remaining and needs to be immediately replaced.
  2. Watch Tire Pressure – pressure decreases with a decrease in temperatures.
  3. Ice is Ice – 4-wheel drive or not!
  4. Increase the distance between you and the vehicle in front of you.
  5. Make sure you have a snow brush in the vehicle.
  6. Clear your windows, headlights, taillights, and sensors – don’t rely on your defroster or the wind to clear them!
  7. Clear and dislodge your windshield wiper blades – before activating wiper arms.

Did you know that idling results in unnecessary harmful emissions? Read the myths below and check to make sure you know fact from fiction.

Myth: Diesel engines need to be warmed up with long idle periods, especially in cold weather.
Fact: With today's modern diesel engines, engine manufacturers often recommend a warm up time of less than five minutes.

Myth: Idling is cost effective because it saves fuel.
Fact: Idling for more than 10 seconds uses more fuel than restarting the engine. In general, a heavy duty diesel truck wastes one gallon of fuel for every hour it idles.

Myth: It's better for the engine to run at low, idling speeds than to run at regular speeds.
Fact: Running the engine for extended periods of time at low speed (idling) causes more wear on internal parts than running the engine at normal driving speeds.

Myth: The engine must be kept running in order to operate equipment in the cabin (i.e., flashing lights or radio). This equipment can't be run off the internal circuitry of the vehicle because the battery will run down.
Fact: Such equipment can generally be operated for up to an hour without the engine running before any ill effects on the electrical system will occur.