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Winter driving in Richmond requires some adjustments

Richmond winter roads
Winter driving in Richmond requires an adjustment. This road isn't too bad. But, there are times when the roads are
downright hazardous.
If you live in the Richmond area, and you’ve driven for any significant period of time, you probably have a good idea how to drive in the snow. If you’re a newer driver, you may not be as familiar with driving on Richmond and area roads in the winter.

This week, winter has decided to test your winter-driving acumen. If you’re a new driver, and this is your first winter behind the wheel, even the thought of hitting snow-and-ice-covered roads can test your nerves. Even if you’re a seasoned driver, you need to make the adjustment from your summer driving style to your winter style.

What does it mean to adjust your driving style to fit winter driving? Here are some suggestions you’ll want to take to heart:

  • Get accustomed to your brakes. Try them out a few times before you NEED to use them to avoid an accident. You’ll want to know that you can stop without sliding into cross traffic when approaching an intersection. You’ll want to know you won’t slide into the car in front of you if they have to stop.
  • Speaking of the car in front of you – increase the distance between your car and other cars on the road. The safe distance on a dry road is not sufficient on a snow- and/or ice-covered road.
  • Accelerate slower and allow more time and distance to decelerate. 
  • Reduce your speed in general. The distance required to stop increases when the roads are coated with snow and ice. Give yourself a better chance by slowing down.
  • Put some snow tires on your car. Snow tires can make a dramatic difference in providing you with greater traction in the snow. This is a great thing, as long as you don’t over-drive the conditions because you’re placed too much confidence in the snow tires.
  • Don’t think your 4-Wheel-Drive vehicle will help you stop any better. A 4-Wheel-Drive vehicle can give you an edge to get going but it won’t provide any appreciable advantage when stopping. This is why you may notice a disproportionate amount of 4-Wheel-Drive vehicles in ditches and snow drifts on winter roads; the drivers were lulled into a false sense of confidence because their vehicles were able to accelerate faster.

If you follow these tips, you have a better chance of surviving our current Richmond winter safely and without any new dents in your car.

McHenry winter can make car, truck and SUV parts brittle

brittle car parts McHenry winter
Even a little tap, when the weather gets cold,
can result in serious damage to those plastic
body parts on your car. A McHenry winter
can make plastic car parts brittle.
A Feb. 26, 2015, story from Canada reports that “Modern plastic vehicle parts (are) cracking under temperatures.” The story states that the flexible plastics used in the manufacture of cars today “easily ‘shatters’ when temperatures dip below -20 C.”

It’s Canada. It’s -20 C. That’s darn cold. That’s an Arctic temperature. We don’t have to worry, right?

Guess again. A conversion chart shows that -20 Celsius is actually only -4 Fahrenheit. Here in McHenry, we have temperatures that fall below -4 degrees every winter. You can plan on it. You can set your watch by it.

Newer cars have traded traditionally metal parts for plastic parts, what the story referred to as “thermoplastic olefin.” The advantage, other than cost savings in producing the parts, is that the plastic parts weigh less. That means that the cars, trucks and SUVs weigh less.

When a car, truck or SUV weighs less, the engine doesn’t have to work as hard to move the vehicle. Think about it. If you were going to pull an empty wagon up a hill, or the same wagon loaded with 50 pounds of weight, you would have to work harder to pull the latter wagon.

The same principle holds true for your car, truck or SUV, whether you’re driving up a hill in McHenry or anywhere else (unless the road on the McHenry hill is slick with ice).

When your car, truck or SUV engine has to work harder, it burns more fuel. This means that a heavier car, truck or SUV will have lower gas mileage than the same vehicle made with heavier metal instead of plastic.

These are the reasons that the plastic is a significant advancement in the manufacture of vehicles today. The problem, as the Canadian article points out, is that the plastic may not handle the extreme cold temperatures well.

It isn’t necessarily that the plastic simply breaks. Rather, it’s a question of the plastic becoming brittle. When the plastic is brittle like that, the slightest bump against the curb on Green Street in McHenry can fracture the plastic.

This also means there isn’t much you can do about it, except to drive carefully so you don’t bump when brittle.

Changing your Wonder Lake car, truck or SUV’s engine oil on schedule is a great New Year’s resolution

oil change Wonder Lake
Which would your Wonder Lake car, truck or SUV prefer - fresh, clean
engine oil or old, dirty engine oil. The answer is obvious and it's just as
obvious that you need to make a resolution to change your engine oil on
schedule if you want to keep your engine happy, healthy and running
for the long haul.
Are you one of those from Wonder Lake who still makes New Years Resolutions? A lot of people have given up on the practice, many of those after repeated New Years good intentions to exercise and lose weight. There is one possible New Years Resolution you may want to consider and keep.

How about making a New Years Resolution to change your car, truck or SUV’s oil on schedule in 2018? This is a resolution that will pay dividends in the short term and the long haul.

A commitment to stay on top of your Wonder Lake car, truck or SUV’s oil changes makes all the sense in the world. It’s an inexpensive maintenance service that protects your car, truck or SUV’s engine, durability and resale value. There’s really no downside to this resolution.

Changing the engine oil in your car, truck or SUV performs miracles. If you don’t think so, try running your engine without engine oil (please, don’t – you will definitely ruin the engine).

Engine oil is absolutely essential to your engine’s operation. Considering, it’s not surprising that it’s so important to regularly change your car, truck or SUV’s engine oil.

What does engine oil do that’s so important?

  • It lubricates the engine so that moving parts don’t scratch and gouge the heck out of each other while moving.
  • Reducing the friction reduces the heat that friction would create. At the same time, the engine oil carries some of the heat away.
  • Running through the oil filter, it removes fibers, dirt, and particles that would damage engine parts. 
  • It ensures that the engine is running at its optimal performance, which translates to more power and better gas mileage.
  • It protects the engine thereby extending its life and increasing the car, truck or SUV’s resale value.

At one time, they used to say that you should change your car, truck or SUV’s engine oil every 3,000 miles or every three months. Nowadays, they may tell you to change your oil every 5,000 miles (you should check your Owner’s Manual for your car, truck or SUV’s particular requirements).

Whatever is recommended for your Wonder Lake car, truck or SUV, you will probably change the engine oil no more than four or five times each year. That makes changing the engine oil one of the most cost-effective insurance policies you can purchase for your vehicle.

It’s not worth the risk – hire a McHenry Limousine this New Year’s Eve

No DUI McHenry Limousine
This is the way to celebrate New Year's Eve in McHenry - hire McHenry Limousine to take you to and from your destinations.
There is plenty to celebrate as we bid 2017 adieu and welcome in 2018. What are your plans for New Year’s Eve? What a great night to join some friends and party. Just think of the letdown, however, if the night ends in handcuffs or on an ambulance gurney.

Why should you wind up in handcuffs or on an ambulance gurney? A little too much party, mixed with an unwise decision to drive is a roll of the dice, at best.

Maybe you’ve ‘proven’ that you can have a few drinks and make it home alright, the other times when you rolled the dice. But, you never know when those dice are going to come up snake eyes.

What does a DUI defense cost these days? Talk about a ‘loaded’ question. Here are some estimates of how much you could expect to pay related to a DUI:

  • $200: Towing and impounding your car (the police have a nasty habit of not letting you drive the car after they arrest you for drunk driving)
  • $25,000: legal fees
  • $4,000: DUI fines and fees
  • $500: DUI classes (10 - $50 per class)
  • $200: Counseling Fees 
  • $510: Driver’s License restoration fee (after you’ve gone a year or two without a Driver’s License)
  • $1,500: annual average increase with high-risk auto insurance
  • $200: installation of Ignition Interlock Device so that you have to breathe into a tube to prove you’re not intoxicated
  • $1,200: monthly fee of $100 to operate Ignition Interlock Device for one year
  • $33,310: Total amount of direct costs you could pay for a DUI

This doesn’t include all the additional costs of transportation when you can’t drive, lost wages while going to court and, even, the possibility of losing a job. Then there are the social and emotional expenses. And none of this includes the costs if you’re involved in an accident while driving.

A drunk driving accident could permanently injure you and/or others. People can even die.

After considering all these potentialities, is it really worth taking the risks, especially when there is an easy alternative – hire a ride. You could hire a cab but, as long as you’re celebrating, why not go in style while skipping the roll of the dice? Hiring a limousine is a great way to ensure that your New Year’s Eve reveling is safely carried off, from start to finish, in a fashion you’ll remember for all the right reasons.

Marty Robb, with McHenry Limousine, said they’ve safely conveyed New Year’s partiers to and from their destinations without an accident or DUI and they can do it for you, too (to hire McHenry Limousine, call 815-344-4466).

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