Cooler weather, shorter days, colourful trees and seasonal depression. It must be Autumn. To welcome the season and help you survive it, we've compiled a healthy list of things to help prolong your driving enjoyment long into the cooler months.
Wash your vehicle and undercarriage.
We know this may be a hard one with the gloomy weather and soon, the constant salting/brining of our streets, but that's why we recommend it. Using a car wash that has an undercarriage spray or getting under there with a good pressure washer will help to remove any dirt and debris from getting built up excessively - Don't forget the wheel wells! It also helps to keep the salt residue from turning your mechanical friend back into its natural elements.
Once your street machine is all clean, we highly recommend sealing its finish with a protectant such as a ceramic coating or your favourite wax. If washing your tuned machine is too much of a chore, we highly suggest seeing any of our friends across the Lower Mainland, such as Tiago's Auto Spa, Detailed Solutions, YAM Auto Salon, and P2P Detailing to help freshen up your ride.
With the amount of rain we see in the Lower Mainland, we need all the help we can get to ensure our street machines' survival. Rain-X is a synthetic polymer that is silicone-based, and its primary use is on glass as a surface treatment. It is hydrophobic, essentially meaning that it is designed to repel water. Rain-X works to make rain bead, making visibility better in even the harshest conditions and may even negate the use of wipers (have you ever been on the highway with a Rain-X treated windshield?).
It also carries anti-fogging properties that can help eliminate windows clouding up when there is a sudden change in temperature across the glass. This also has the effect of making your glass less susceptible to frost build-up during the frigid months.
Check your tire pressure.
Another disadvantage of the cooler weather is decreased tire pressure. When the ambient air temperature drops, so does the pressure in your tires—the reason is that cold air becomes denser and requires less area. If left unchecked, it can result in poorer grip and uneven wear. In worst-case scenarios, it has also induced catastrophic failure due to more stress being placed on the tire's sidewall. Most vehicles have a tire information label placed on the inside of the driver's door edge that provides information such as the original equipment tire size and recommended pressures.
Having proper tires.
Starting October 1st and going well into spring, major highways in BC require you to have proper snow tires due to fluctuating weather conditions. Most people think that "all-season" tires are good enough. However, they are usually just OK in all areas and not specifically fantastic at any one use and no longer optimal under 7 Degrees Celsius (44 Degrees Fahrenheit). For example, high-performance summer tires are usually softer and made with a more aggressive tread pattern meant for efficiency with pavement grip on hot, dry days but then experience severe traction issues on cooler wet days.
During this time of year, things are often wet and cool, so you should take the time to inspect your vehicle and look over your existing tire tread and see if they are rated for wet conditions. "All-weather" and snow tires have an easily identifiable symbol in the form of a snowflake within a three-peak mountain located on the sidewall to indicate the conditions they are suitable for. Snow tires are made with unique compounds meant to keep them soft and grippy in low temperatures and use additional siping to help evacuate water effectively. However, they should not be used year-round as they can prematurely wear out in warmer conditions.
Check your lights and use them!
Many of us learned when we started with our drivers' licenses to complete a 360 check, yet most don't understand why. For example, can you recall if all your lights are in good working order? Do all your turn signals work? Are all of your brake lights working? Running lights still good?
With the haphazard weather we British Columbians experience, it's an excellent courtesy to remember to turn on your lights when conditions are not ideal. For example, even though it may be the middle of the day, pouring rain can cause extreme visibility restrictions that can be amplified on the highway. In addition, having your lights on can help the other drivers identify your presence on the road and ensure proper following distances.
It is also essential to use your indicators and provide an appropriate amount of notice when using them, as weather conditions may cause an increase in stopping distances. And to be clear, your daytime running lights are never sufficient at night. So PLEASE don't be ignorant or lazy and forget to turn on your lights just because your instrument cluster and the area just ahead of you happen to be lit as you're travelling - others need to be able to see you as well!
Following too closely.
We all come across slower, nervous, and uneducated drivers on the road and as frustrating as it can be, it does not hide the fact that you should practice proper following distances. Under ideal circumstances, a 2-3 second distance should be put between you and other drivers. This can be determined by choosing a landmark (a pole, sign, or tree) on the side of the road and counting to 2 in your head. If you pass it too fast, you're too close.
On our highways, allow for 3-4 seconds due to other drivers' increased speeds and unpredictability, and be mindful of the "keep right except to pass" rule. Allow other motorists to pass smoothly. Remember, the closer you follow, the harder it will be to brake in time if there is an unexpected distraction. Lastly, when following emergency vehicles with their lights and sirens on, please make sure there are at least 150 metres (492 feet) in between yourself and them!
Keep right except to pass.
It's not your right or obligation to speed check people in the left lane if they pass you way over the speed limit. Let the police handle it, considering that's their job. After all, it is indicated in the provincial motor vehicle act as an offence that can incur a fine and three demerit points to your license if you are impeding the flow of traffic.
Surely, all of you have seen the large white sign displayed multiple times along any stretch of highway stating "Keep Right Except to Pass." Regardless of how fast you are travelling, you should be in the right lane unless you pass a vehicle, whether you choose to drive at the speed limit or however much over. Your job as the safe operator of a motor vehicle, especially in BC, is to drive with consideration for others on the road.
The lanes are split up not only to keep up with traffic flow but also to make traffic efficient. By sitting in the left lane, you are now creating a traffic jam and slowing down the general efficiency of our motorways. Be aware of your surroundings, check all of your mirrors to make sure you're not holding up traffic with your pace, and be sure to move back over once you've made your pass. This simple yet effective lesson taught to us when we go through driving lessons can significantly reduce frustration and improve traffic flow everywhere.
We hope this list of tips will help you greatly this Autumn season and not only add to your motoring pleasure but help remove some stress from day-to-day travels!
- Team 604