Since I do a ton of road trips in the summer, I jumped at the opportunity to hang out with professional race car driver, Carl Nadeau to pick up some driving tips for summer conditions. This event involved testing out a variety of different tires on dry road conditions and then wet ones (they flooded the parking lot to simulate) on a course out at the PNE. This wasn’t the course for anyone who likes to take it easy as Nadeau kept pushing me to speed up, slam the brakes, take the corner faster; I was sure I would crash, but didn’t.
The most important take away from the event was that if you are trying to use winter tires in the summer, just don’t. I tested out winter tires vs all seasons on the same vehicle and the performance was vastly different. Winter tires don’t allow the car to stop anywhere near where all seasons are when you slam on the brakes and they slip all over the road when cornering. The other difference was less drastic, but indeed noticeable. We put the Michelin Premier A/S tires against the most highly rated of the competition and I did notice a difference in performance as I stopped sooner and slid less. I did this twice just to be sure I wasn’t being unduly influenced as the event was indeed sponsored by the tire company. MICHELIN® Premier™ A/S tire promises shorter stopping on wet roads, hydroplaning resistance and increased grip, and I certainly felt safer in these.
Here’s some tips for driving as well. I learned a lot about keeping two hands on the wheel.
Check Your Tires: After all, tires are the only part of your car that touches the road.
- Check your tires for wear – Using the “Penny Test’’, put the edge of the coin into the tread with the Queen going in head first. If the top of the Queen’s head is covered by tread, that’s good. If the top of her head is entirely visible, it’s time to replace the tire.
- Check the air pressure – Tires have been known to lose up to 1 psi (pounds per square inch) of pressure every month. Use a proper pressure gauge to check pressure when tires are cold (before driving or three hours after driving). Make sure your tires are inflated to the psi on the sticker inside the driver’s door of your car. DO NOT compare to the psi on your tire’s sidewall.
- Don’t mix tires – If you’re replacing only two new tires instead of four, be sure they are the same size and type as the current ones. Always install the new tires on the rear axle of your vehicle, which will reduce the risk of fishtailing and loss of stability in wet conditions.
Wet Driving: Wet road conditions present dangers like less grip and longer stopping distance.
- Slow down. Slowing down dramatically decreases the risk of accidents in rainy conditions.
- Always drive with two hands on the steering wheel.
- Slow down before turning and maintain a consistent speed throughout the turn.
- While turning, don’t make sudden steering wheel movements.
- Only brake in a straight line before the turn and do so gradually. Do not brake during the turn.
- Increase your following distance from other cars to allow for more stopping range.
- If hydroplaning, do not accelerate or brake suddenly. Keep your foot lightly on the gas and steer the car forward until your tires regain traction.
For more tips on safe driving, visit http://www.michelin.ca/tires-101/driving-and-safety-tips/driving-tips.page
I recently tested out the new Ford Fiesta 2014. When I saw the line up of cars I wanted one thing, the car colour that was called Green Envy! I once painted my red car green and have missed that auto-mobile ever since giving it. Rather shallow, I know, but there is of course more to the Fiesta than the ten zippy colours of the car. It is the smallest of the cars Ford has to offer that starts at around $14,000 and comes in either a five-door hatchback or four-door sedan.
The base engine is 120-hp, 1.6-liter four cylinder which is fast enough, although I liked the manual transmission over the PowerShift automatic once I compared the two for performance. New for this year is the Fiesta ST with 197 horsepower and 1.6 liter EcoBoost four cylinder engine which is fast and zippy for those needed more power. The steering on all models is stellar.
The basic model can be a bit thin as it only has the manual windows and doesn’t include many or the bells and whistles, although it does have air conditioning. However, this seems to be industry standard as I compare the other brands at this price point. Once you get into adding features you’ll have is an alarm system, rearview camera, LED Lighting, moonroof, racing wheels and the MyFord Touch a system that controls audio, navigation and connectivity through voice commands and a touch screen. The car fully decked out can head upwards of $20,000, but this does get you many excellent added perks.
Parents will love the MyKey® a feature that includes the Belt Minder® warning chime and can limit speed and audio volume up to 45 percent of maximum. Teenagers, however, may not.
Overall a nice ride with some good technology and lots of customization available.
Disclosure of Material Connection: Ford Canada provided the Ford Fiesta for a day and provided flight and accommodation in order to test it. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.