Keeping Your Family Safe This Winter Driving Season

. January 6, 2015.

Last winter, record-breaking low temperatures, snow and ice made driving a challenge for families in Toledo as they navigated to places like work and school.  Having the proper set of tires on your car can help keep your family safe on the road when facing this winter’s difficult conditions like icy roads.

According to, icy roads are the number one threat to the average driver – more than any other weather hazard including floods, hurricanes and tornadoes.

As you take the kids to school and make your way to work, tires with great tread will drain elements like water, slush, ice and snow to help you make it to your destination with more control behind the wheel.

Good tread for bad weather ahead

Life doesn’t stop just because it starts to snow.  When it’s time to get up and go, you don’t want anything to hinder your morning route. That’s where good tire tread – the shape of the tire, tread blocks, grooves and other channels that improve a tire’s grip – comes in.

“Tires are the only parts of your vehicle that actually make contact with the road so you want to make sure they have great tread,” says Allen Myers,  father of two teens and  store manager of Belle Tire’s Oregon location.

The tire retailer is celebrating 30 years of automotive expertise in the Toledo area.

“Having great tread allows drivers to maintain contact with the road in conditions like water, ice, snow and slush, and keep your most precious cargo – your children and family – safe while traveling this winter.”

“Every vehicle is designed differently and according to the kind of performance you want your vehicle to have,” says Myers. “For example, an SUV may require a different set of tires than a caravan, but overall they help with performance features like accelerating and braking quickly.”

Front tires vs. Rear tires

Making sure your tire tread wears evenly is also a crucial component to safe driving this winter season. Regular tire rotations and wheel alignments help them wear evenly, but there always comes a time when new tires have to be purchased.

Tires are expensive and some families may have a difficult time purchasing all four at the same time. If you purchase new tires it’s best to place them on the rear of your vehicle, according to Myers.  

“Having them on the front seems practical because they will help you get started in the snow and ice,” says Myers. “But having tires that are worn out on the back may cause you to slide out when you try to maneuver or turn your vehicle whether you have rear-wheel drive, front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.”

Under the Hood

A great set of tires is crucial, but having a healthy vehicle under the hood is also important to keeping your family safe on the road this winter driving season.

“Checking your oil and changing it regularly is very important when it comes to making sure your vehicle is winter ready,” says Myers. “It is also crucial to check transmission fluid and coolant.”

Your owner’s manual is a great resource for how often you should have your fluids checked and changed. Newer onboard computer systems may also help you keep track of your fluids. For example, your vehicle may be equipped with an oil life monitor which will alert you when it is time for an oil change.

Having your battery checked is another element of your vehicle that is winter ready according to Myers.

“Checking your battery once a year is important – especially, if the battery is more than two years old,” says Myers. “You can also keep your battery healthy with simple things like making sure the top of it is clean. Dirt is a conductor and can drain your battery’s power.”

In case of an emergency

Having your vehicle stall or any other road emergency is, of course, less than ideal so seeing a certified mechanic and having them perform a thorough check of your car may help avoid them.  But, even the most prepared drivers can experience an emergency on the road. You can take measures for those unforeseen occurrences by packing an emergency kit to help keep you and your family safe.

“Drivers want to make sure they pack an emergency kit in their cars with things like a flashlight with extra batteries, water, jumper cables and a shovel if, for example, their vehicle stalls,” says Myers. “Having wool blankets and snacks in your vehicle is also useful in keeping your family safe and comfortable.”

Having the proper tires and having a healthy vehicle can help make all the difference when it comes to your family’s experience on the road this winter season. It’s a small price to pay for the priceless people in your life.