SUVs can weigh up to two or three times as much as a typical vehicle, which translates into longer stopping distances. Be aware of the distance between you and the vehicles in front of, and behind you, and begin your braking sequence earlier than you would in a lighter vehicle.
* Turn with care.
If you're approaching a turn, brake earlier than you would in a lighter vehicle. Remove your foot from the brake at the beginning of the turn, and steer into the curve. This will provide the best traction to avoid skidding or sliding.
* Be aware of road conditions.
SUVs typically handle snow with ease, but no vehicle can, or should, speed through sleet-, snow- or ice-covered roads. Stopping in such conditions can even be tricky in an SUV. Be sensible and drive as road conditions warrant.
* Watch your fuel level.
Driving in four-wheel drive burns gas faster than typical driving. During cooler months, fill up more often to keep your gas tank at least half full to help prevent condensation. The fuel reserve will also be important if you get stuck in traffic.
* Check your tires.
Four-wheel drive doesn't guarantee good traction - all four need to have good tread depth and be inflated to the vehicle manufacturer's recommended air pressure. Air in tires contracts, reducing the tire air pressure up to one pound per square inch for each 10-degree drop in temperature.
Check your inflation pressure more frequently during the cold months, or times of wide temperature swings. Under-inflation will lessen the gripping action because the tire tread will not meet the road surface as it was designed to do.
There are approximately 1,500 Firestone Complete Auto Care facilities across the nation. For more information, visit www.firestonecompleteautocare.com.