Winter Weather Driving Tips

The bone chilling winter weather is right around the corner, and that means it’s time to brush up on your winter weather driving. Driving in snow-covered or icy roads is unlike driving on any other terrain. Whether you’re a long-time veteran of the roads or a new kid on the block, we here at Wantagh Mazda have some winter weather driving tips to keep you out of harm’s way.

Winter Weather Driving Tips

  1. Keep Your Distance. When driving on unplowed or snow-covered roads, it’s best to keep at least seven car lengths from the car in front of you. Road conditions are ever-changing in winter, and you don’t know how other drivers will react to a given situation. Give yourself plenty of time to brake by keeping your distance.
  2. Brake Early. If you’re keeping your distance, braking early shouldn’t cause any problems. If you’re tailgating, you could be in for some trouble. By braking early, you allow yourself and, more importantly, your car more time to come to a stop. Roads tend to be slick in winter so braking early is necessary to avoid an accident.
  3. Keep Emergency Supplies. You never know when you’ll end up on the side of the road waiting for help. That’s why it’s a good idea to keep emergency supplies, like extra clothes, blankets, a flashlight and batteries, and jumper cables handy.

Tips For if Your Brakes Fail

There are few things that will spark terror in your mind more than losing all braking power while behind the wheel of a two-ton vehicle. It doesn’t have to be that way though. With some quick thinking, you can safely maneuver out of traffic and out of harm. We here at Wantagh Mazda have some tips on what to do if your brakes fail!

  • Don’t Panic: Keep a cool head. It will allow you to think clearer and faster, meaning you’re less likely to be involved in an accident. While panicking is the immediate reaction, take a deep breath and turn on your hazard lights instead of making a beeline for the side of the road.
  • Try the Brakes Again: Most modern cars come with a dual braking system, which means the front and rear brakes act independently of one another. To lose all braking power, both systems would have to fail. That’s highly unlikely, so try putting strong, consistent pressure on the brake pedal to see if you can slow down.
  • Leave the Car Running: Whatever you do, do not take the key out of the ignition until you’ve come to a complete stop. While turning off the engine will slow the car, you’ll also lose power steering, making it more difficult to maneuver.

TIPS FOR IF YOUR BRAKES FAIL - unlikely event in a Top Safety rated Mazda!

Make The Grade: Tips For Mountain Driving

Thinking of a summer trip to the mountains? While you don’t have to be a professional driver to master the mountains, mountain driving does take a particular skill set. The following are a few tips for mountain driving to help you stay safe on your way to your travel destination.

tips for mountain driving

First and foremost, mountain roads are unique in that they can close due to inclement weather, so check your route before you leave.

Traveling up a mountain can be enormously taxing on your engine. It’s important to stay aware of the signs that your engine could be overheating. Monitor your temperature gauge on your dash and watch out for steam coming from under your hood. If you suspect your vehicle is overheating, pull over and allow it to cool off.

Traveling down a mountain can be very hard on your brakes. The National Park Service recommends shifting to a lower gear in order to use “the braking power of your engine.” At the same time, maintain a safe distance between you and the car in front of you.

Follow these simple tips to make your mountain drive an enjoyable one!

National Pet Travel Safety Day: Driving with Pets Can be Fun and Safe

Whether you celebrated or not, January 2nd marked National Pet Travel Safety Day. Dog, cat, or any other pet, it’s important to keep them safe. Here at Wantagh Mazda we recognize the importance of eliminating the dangers of travelling with unsecure animals.

National Pet Travel Safety Day

According to, the national event was created by pet & family lifestyle expert and animal advocate Colleen Paige to help drivers and pet owners make driving a fun and safe experience. Dogs often travel with owners, but if left unsecure can do damage to themselves, the car, and the owner if nervous. There is also a large risk of fatality if a high-speed accident occurs.

“As a former paramedic in busy Southern California, I responded to many an accident caused by driver distraction due to pets in the vehicle,” says Paige. “It’s very sad when a dog or cat never even makes it home to their new life because they didn’t survive the accident…[sometimes] all of the tragedy could have been prevented with a single dog harness.”

Some of the best things you can do are always carry water and treats, avoid bringing children along, and turn the radio down. It’s always important to make sure your pet is properly secured with a harness or seat protector as well.

Best States for Teen Driving

It’s not a surprise to hear that automobile accidents are a leading cause of death for teenagers in the United States. The National Highway Traffic Administration has studied the phenomena and found that immaturity and inexperience are the primary factors that lead to teen car accidents. No surprise there either. But unfortunately, there’s no magic solution to this. No easy route to protect your kids. The only real solution is time and gaining more experience. However, another recent study found that some states are safer than others for teen driving.

There is good news for those of us here on Long Island and in Wantagh! The new study by found that our own state of New York is the safest state for teen driving; Hawaii is a close second. Who came in last? It might surprise you – South Dakota.

Wallethub’s study measures 16 key metrics to rank the states for safety. They consider the number of teen drivers in each state, the average cost of car repairs, impaired-driving laws, and teen driver fatalities, among others. Each state is ranked in three categories: safety conditions, economic environment and driving laws, and then compared as a whole.

No matter which state you’re in, summer is notoriously the most dangerous season for teen drivers. Many teens are getting their new license, and are out of school with fewer responsibilities. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the monthly average last year for teen deaths on roadways was 235. This year, deaths have spiked to 276 in June and 290 in July.

While there’s no easy fix to keep your kids safe behind the wheel, that doesn’t mean that you can’t make a difference. Statistics have shown that parents who are active in their kids’ driving education are more likely to raise safe drivers. Other factors include staying aware of where your kids are and what they’re doing. It is even suggested that making your kids wait to get their licenses could help.

If you’re looking for a safe and reliable car for your teen, stop by Wantagh Mazda today!