With storms sweeping across the country, the time to review cold-weather practices for travel by car is before getting on the road.
Check out these top winter driving tips from our partners at the Bridgestone Winter Driving School, The Center for Driving Sciences.
Winter weather can be unpredictable, so plan for the unexpected. Carry extra winter clothing, including boots, gloves, hats and blankets. Don’t forget a flashlight with extra batteries, tow straps and jumper cables¹. Use the compartment underneath the new bridge console in the 2021 Sienna to store these winter items.
The Right Rubber to Meet the Road
Review whether your car is outfitted for the season by considering switching to winter tires². In addition, when possible, monitor road conditions before setting out. When on the road look for sections of the road on which ice may have formed. Shadows are a good indicator of where ice could be. Large trees, buildings, overpasses, mountains and even billboards could be a signal of unsafe terrain ahead³.
Stay vigilant. And remember, it takes four to ten times more distance to brake on snow and ice than under normal conditions4.
Getting a Grip
Twenty-four percent5 of weather-related crashes happen on snowy, slushy or icy pavement, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. All-wheel drive (AWD) vehicles can help provide additional support in winter conditions. AWD systems are designed to improve handling and acceleration, even more so in slick conditions, by automatically directing more power to the tire with the best traction.
AWD vehicle options are available across the Toyota lineup, with the 2021 Toyota Avalon now offering an AWD option for the first time in the car’s 25-year history. The Avalon sends up to 50% of the torque to the rear wheels, for enhanced grip and control in most driving conditions. The 2021 Prius also comes equipped with electronic AWD capabilities.
It’s important in the event of skid to be prepared and if possible, to remain focused. Knowing what to do can help you keep calm and stay in control.
If you feel the rear wheels skid and the vehicle begin to spin, the cause is likely to be oversteering. To fix it, steer into the skid, according to Bridgestone. Then accelerate smoothly. That should cause a weight transfer to the rear wheels and help regain grip6.
When the car refuses to turn on a curve, it’s likely caused by understeering, which creates skid for the front wheels. Bridgestone recommends correcting this by lifting off the pedal and turning the wheel slightly straight. This allows the front wheels to regain grip and begin rolling again7.
Toyota models with the Star Safety System are equipped with the vehicle stability control system. The system is designed to help prevent wheel slippage and loss of traction by reducing engine power and applying brake force to the wheels that need it. Sensors in the steering wheel detect a change in direction and help return the vehicle to its intended route.
Aware and Prepared
Winter driving conditions vary greatly. By paying attention to your surroundings, remaining cautious of other drivers and preparing thoughtfully can help you navigate winter season on the road.
Want to learn more?
¹Bridgestone Winter Driving School, The Center For Driving Sciences
²Bridgestone Winter Driving School, The Center For Driving Sciences
³Bridgestone Winter Driving School, The Center For Driving Sciences
4Bridgestone Winter Driving School, The Center For Driving Sciences
5“Snow and Ice,” U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration
6Bridgestone Winter Driving School, The Center For Driving Sciences
7Bridgestone Winter Driving School, The Center For Driving Sciences
Originally published March 2, 2021