4910 Lima Rd Fort Wayne, IN 46808 260-212-1111

Driving in Winter Weather Tips

Driving in winter weather conditions can be very hazardous. If you live in an area that typically experiences snow and ice in the winter months (like Fort Wayne), you need to be aware of the extra precautions that drivers must take if they plan to drive in these conditions. The following tips will help you navigate snowy or icy road conditions.

1 The best tip for driving in severe winter weather conditions is to avoid it. If you do not have to travel to work or school, try your best to stay off the roads. There is no reason to put yourself in danger if driving in snow and ice is not necessary.

2 If you must drive in winter weather, be sure to allow extra time to drive from one place to another. Make sure that you are not in a rush to get anywhere. You will be forced to drive at slower than normal speeds and are more likely to be stalled by accidents when driving in winter weather conditions. You can’t expect to reach your destination within the same time frame as in summer

3 Slow down. Speeding is never smart but speeding on snowy or icy roads can be deadly. Be prepared to drive significantly slower than you normally would on dry roadways. Reducing your speed will allow you to have more time to react if you encounter a problem.

4 During normal driving conditions, it is recommended to keep 3 seconds between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you. However, during snowy & icy conditions, you need to increase that distance to at least 8-9 seconds between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you in order to 
allow proper braking and any unexpected situations.

5 Drive with your lights on, even during the day. Winter weather conditions reduce visibility. Even if it is not snowing, sleeting, or icing now...your headlights will serve as an extra safety precaution.

6 Use a lower gear to provide more traction. Your vehicle will be less likely to accelerate quickly if it begins to slide on an icy road if it is being driven in a lower gear. Also, never use cruise control in winter weather conditions. Cruise control takes vehicle control away from you which is extremely dangerous on slippery roads.

7 Never pass snowplows. This is because when snowplows operate in tandem formation, multiple plows are staggered diagonally to cover all lanes and clear the entire roadway in one sweep. It is extremely dangerous for motorists to try and pass plows in this formation because you could encounter white-out conditions and ridges of snow between lanes. Also, never pass a snowplow on the right as some are equipped with a wing plow on that side. Finally, don't follow too closely behind a snowplow; stay at least 200 feet behind it.

8 Never overestimate your vehicle’s ability to handle winter weather conditions. While 4x4 and All Wheel Drive vehicles give you extra traction, they are still susceptible to loosing traction on snowy and icy roads. If you are skeptical, find another means of transportation.

9 People are often unsure of how to recover control of their vehicle if the wheels lock up because of icy or snowy road conditions. If your rear wheels lock up, take your foot off the accelerator, turn your steering wheel in the direction you want your front wheels to go, apply steady pressure to anti-lock brakes or gently pump standard brakes. If your front wheels lock up, allow the steering wheel to turn freely, remove your foot from the accelerator, shift into neutral, then slowly begin to steer the vehicle as it slows down from turning. The best thing to keep in mind if you lose control of your vehicle on an icy road is the importance of not making any sudden maneuvers. Allow your vehicle to slow down before attempting to regain control.

10. Even if there is no snow or icy to deal with, make sure that you completely defrost your front and back windshields before driving in the winter (you can read another blog from Big City Cars titled “How to Defrost your Windows FAST). Frost significantly reduces your visibility. Wait until it is completely melted before driving.

Again, if it is not necessary that you drive in winter weather conditions, do not get behind the wheel. Drivers who must brave icy roadways need to keep in mind that patience is necessary. Exert extra caution when driving in winter road conditions. It is also a good idea to stay prepared for accidents or stalls by keeping a warm blanket, bottle of water, a snack, and other emergency supplies in your vehicle.

We hope that you find this information useful. And as always … safe journeys on your trips around town. Big City Cars is located at 4910 Lima Road, just down from Costco. Or give us a call today at (260) 212-1111. We look forward to helping you get into a quality preowned vehicle that fits your lifestyle & budget.

Is Driving with Low Fuel Bad for your Car

We’ve all been there. You’re driving down the road and the low gas light comes on. Time to fill up! But have you ever stopped to think if driving with low fuel is bad for your vehicle? The answer is: YES!

Experts say you should always keep your gas tank at least a quarter of the way full. But why? Obviously, doing so will keep you from getting in a dangerous situation where you're low on gas and too far from a gas station to fill up, leaving you stranded on the side of the road. But there are other; less obvious, reasons to keep a little gas in your tank. Simply, driving on an empty tank can cause damage to your vehicle in several ways.  

You won't get very far driving on empty; but in the moments before you do stall out your car's catalytic converter, which is part of the exhaust system, can be damaged. You could also get debris stuck in your fuel pump by running your tank too low. That's because any tiny particles that find their way into the gas tank settle at the bottom, and they tend to stay there until your car is trying to grab the last bit of fuel it can. When the fuel pump sucks up the last of your gas, any debris in your tank will go along with it, and the particles can get stuck in your pump or in your fuel filter.

But getting nasty sediments stuck in your fuel pump isn't the only way that you could be damaging it. In some cars, the fuel pump is located in the gas tank, and the gas acts like insulation and a lubricant as it flows around the pump. If you're constantly running your gas tank dry, the fuel pump could be overheating, which will cause it to wear out prematurely.

So, now the BIG question. How far can you go when the gas gauge hits E? Well, that depends on your vehicle. Different vehicles have the gas light configured in different ways. Most cars will illuminate the light when there are about 2 or 3 gallons left. Some bigger vehicles, like trucks and SUVs, light up the empty indicator when there are about 4 gallons left in the tank. How far those amounts can get you is another variable that depends on your car's efficiency, your driving style, & whether you're in the city, on the highway, or stuck in a traffic jam.

We hope that you find this information useful. And as always … safe journeys on your trips around town. Big City Cars is located at 4910 Lima Road, just down from Costco. Or give us a call today at (260) 212-1111. We look forward to helping you get into a quality preowned vehicle that fits your lifestyle & budget. 

Fall Driving Tips

Fall is a time for hayrides, pumpkin spiced drinks, and of course cooler weather. It’s also a time when road and weather conditions make driving a little tougher. Stay safe on the road this fall with these smart driving tips.

Don’t Brake on Leaves. Wet leaves can be as slippery as ice. Drive slowly through them and avoid hard braking. Leaves may also obscure lane lines and other road markers, so pay attention to the edge of the road and take care to stay in your lane.

Avoid Sun Glare. The first 15-45 minutes after sunrise and before sunset can make for more difficult driving due to sun glare. This is because the sun perfectly aligns with east/west roadways during this time. Make sure you have a good pair of sunglasses for the daytime, use your vehicles sun visor, and keep your windshield clean to minimize the sun’s blinding effects.

Use Your Rain Smarts. During fall, we typically see an increase in rainfall. When it’s raining, be sure to maintain a safe distance from the car in front of you as the wet roads may be more slippery than usual causing an increase in stopping distance for your vehicle, or worse, cause you to hydroplane.

Be Careful on Bridges. As the temperate begins to drop, morning frost can leave icy patches on bridges, overpasses, and shaded spots on the road. Take care while driving & slow down.

Adjust Your Eyes. We lose 1 to 2 minutes of daylight daily after the fall equinox. After leaving home or the office (and before hitting the gas pedal), give your eyes time to adjust to the dark. Your eyes can take anywhere between 2-5 minutes to fully adjust to lighting conditions.

Watch Out for Deer. Fall marks the beginning of deer breeding season and they will be more active in areas near the road. Deer are most active during sunset and sunrise, so be extra watchful when driving near the woods & near deer crossing signs.

Make Sure Your Vehicle is Up to the Task. That means you should regularly check your vehicles tire pressure, replace your windshield wipers, and make sure your headlights are properly aligned. If it has been some time since you have taken your vehicle to a mechanic for a full inspection, now might be a good time as well to help ensure against a vehicle break down.

We hope that you find these tips useful. And as always … safe journeys on your trips around town. Big City Cars is located at 4910 Lima Road, just down from Costco. Or give us a call today at (260) 212-1111. We look forward to helping you get into a quality preowned vehicle that fits your lifestyle & budget. 

End of Summer Driving Tips

Though summer is nearing its end, many people are looking to cram in that last-minute road trip. Everyone is different when it comes to preparation: what foods to bring, what music to listen to, or who’s doing most of the driving. Regardless, safe traveling is ultimately paramount when prepping for any trip short or long. You may be driving into a state in which you have never been before, so get familiar with your route ahead of time, grab your friends or family, and hit the road to capitalize on the end of summer! 

Here are some driving tips that we hope you will find useful:  
  • Before taking a long road trip, make sure you have had plenty of sleep and something to eat before heading out. Though you would think coffee or energy drinks will help you, ultimately, they will initially perk you up, then you will be sleepy again. 
  • Pull over frequently and share driving responsibilities. If you pull over frequently to stretch your legs, grab a bite to eat, and get some fresh air, you will be much more alert while driving. When planning your trip ahead of time, try to divide driving times evenly. This allows you to nap while another person is driving, or simply keep an eye on them. 
  • Know the laws of the states in which you will be traveling. Police officers typically do not accept ignorance as an excuse, so be sure to hone up on different state laws before it is too late! 
  • Never drink alcohol before a trip. Although you may not be intoxicated after one drink, the alcohol and sugar from the drink will make you sleepy. This is the MOST important item on this list and is pretty much self-explanatory. 
  • Be sure to familiarize yourself with your location. Sure, GPS devices are a great way to navigate your routes, but they often get travelers lost. Bring along road maps for the areas along the way to your destination; believe it or not, road maps are fun to use! 
  • Check the weather along your planned trip before heading out. Just because it’s not raining here in Fort Wayne, doesn’t mean you won’t run into a nasty storm along the way. Preparation is KEY!   
  • Try not to use your cruise-control at night. You may be saving a fraction of fuel, but ultimately managing your speed will keep you more alert while driving at night. 
  • Have a small cooler packed. This will minimize the amount of stops you’ll have to make. Also, it will save you money for the rest of your trip. 
  • Make sure everyone wears their seat belt. Though another obvious recommendation, this is also highly important. It will also prevent you/your passengers from receiving a ticket! 
Along with these helpful driving tips, you also need to make sure that your vehicle is up for the journey. Here are some helpful car care tips to help ensure safe travels on your end of summer road trip.   
  • Check both the level and condition of the car’s motor oil. Consult the owner’s manual for the recommended oil change interval and suggested grade of oil. 
  • Make sure the battery terminals and cables are securely attached and free of corrosion. 
  • Check the antifreeze/coolant level and top off with a 50/50 mix of antifreeze and water if needed. Do not remove the radiator pressure cap when the engine is hot. 
  • Check your tire(s) air pressure and look for damage, bulges, and excessive or uneven tread wear. 
  • Make sure your wipers can keep your windshield clean and streak-free. 
  • Check headlights, brake lights, and turn signals. Keep all lights clear of dirt, especially headlights. And always make sure to use your headlights so others see your vehicle more easily. 
  • Include and/or restock your Emergency Kit. This should include water, non-perishable food items, jumper cables, a flashlight with extra batteries, road flares or an emergency beacon, basic hand tools, and a first aid kit. 
We hope that you if you are planning an end of summer road trip that you have safe travels & a great time with your friends and family! Remember to always be safe & alert as well as follow local county and state laws.   

Big City Cars is located at 4910 Lima Road, just down from Costco. Or give us a call today at (260) 212-1111. We look forward to helping you get into a quality preowned vehicle that fits your lifestyle & budget. 
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