Manual 13824619 | Section 4 Your Driving and the Road
Section 4 Your Driving and the Road
Here you’ll find information about driving on different kinds of roads and in varying weather conditions. We’ve also included many other useful tips on driving.
The best advice anyone can give about driving is:
Please start with a very important safety device in your vehicle: Buckle up. (See “Safety Belts” in the Index.)
Defensive driving really means “be ready for anything.”
On city streets, rural roads or freeways, it means
“always expect the unexpected.”
Assume that pedestrians or other drivers are going to be careless and make mistakes. Anticipate what they might do. Be ready for their mistakes.
end collisions are about the most preventable of accidents. Yet they are common. Allow enough following distance. It’s the best defensive driving maneuver, in both city and rural driving. You never know when the vehicle in front of you is going to brake or turn suddenly.
Defensive driving requires that a driver concentrate on the driving task. Anything that distracts from the driving task
such as concentrating on a cellular telephone call, reading, or reaching for something on the floor
makes proper defensive driving more difficult and can even cause a collision, with resulting injury.
Ask a passenger to help do things like this, or pull off the road in a safe place to do them yourself.
These simple defensive driving techniques could save your life.
Death and injury associated with drinking and driving is a national tragedy. It’s the number one contributor to the highway death toll, claiming thousands of victims every year.
Alcohol affects four things that anyone needs to drive a vehicle:
D Muscular Coordination
Police records show that almost half of all motor vehicle
related deaths involve alcohol. In most cases, these deaths are the result of someone who was drinking and driving. In recent years, over 17,000 annual motor vehicle
related deaths have been associated with the use of alcohol, with more than 300,000 people injured.
by some estimates, nearly half the adult population
choose never to drink alcohol, so they never drive after drinking. For persons under 21, it’s against the law in every U.S. state to drink alcohol.
There are good medical, psychological and developmental reasons for these laws.
The obvious way to solve the leading highway safety problem is for people never to drink alcohol and then drive. But what if people do? How much is “too much” if the driver plans to drive? It’s a lot less than many might think. Although it depends on each person and situation, here is some general information on the problem.
The Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) of someone who is drinking depends upon four things:
D The amount of alcohol consumed
D The drinker’s body weight
D The amount of food that is consumed before and during drinking
D The length of time it has taken the drinker to consume the alcohol.
According to the American Medical Association, a
lb. (82 kg) person who drinks three 12
(355 ml) bottles of beer in an hour will end up with a
BAC of about 0.06 percent. The person would reach the same BAC by drinking three 4
ounce (120 ml) glasses of wine or three mixed drinks if each had 1
(45 ml) of a liquor like whiskey, gin or vodka.
It’s the amount of alcohol that counts. For example, if the same person drank three double martinis (3 ounces or 90 ml of liquor each) within an hour, the person’s
BAC would be close to 0.12 percent. A person who consumes food just before or during drinking will have a somewhat lower BAC level.
There is a gender difference, too. Women generally have a lower relative percentage of body water than men.
Since alcohol is carried in body water, this means that a woman generally will reach a higher BAC level than a man of her same body weight when each has the same number of drinks.
The law in many U.S. states sets the legal limit at a BAC of 0.10 percent. In a growing number of U.S. states, and throughout Canada, the limit is 0.08 percent. In some other countries, it’s even lower. The BAC limit for all commercial drivers in the United States is 0.04 percent.
The BAC will be over 0.10 percent after three to six drinks (in one hour). Of course, as we’ve seen, it depends on how much alcohol is in the drinks, and how quickly the person drinks them.
But the ability to drive is affected well below a BAC of 0.10 percent. Research shows that the driving skills of many people are impaired at a BAC approaching
0.05 percent, and that the effects are worse at night. All drivers are impaired at BAC levels above 0.05 percent.
Statistics show that the chance of being in a collision increases sharply for drivers who have a BAC of
0.05 percent or above. A driver with a BAC level of
0.06 percent has doubled his or her chance of having a collision. At a BAC level of 0.10 percent, the chance of this driver having a collision is 12 times greater; at a level of 0.15 percent, the chance is 25 times greater!
The body takes about an hour to rid itself of the alcohol in one drink. No amount of coffee or number of cold showers will speed that up. “I’ll be careful” isn’t the right answer. What if there’s an emergency, a need to take sudden action, as when a child darts into the street?
A person with even a moderate BAC might not be able to react quickly enough to avoid the collision.
There’s something else about drinking and driving that many people don’t know. Medical research shows that alcohol in a person’s system can make crash injuries worse, especially injuries to the brain, spinal cord or heart. This means that when anyone who has been drinking
driver or passenger
is in a crash, that person’s chance of being killed or permanently disabled is higher than if the person had not been drinking.
Drinking and then driving is very dangerous.
Your reflexes, perceptions, attentiveness and judgment can be affected by even a small amount of alcohol. You can have a serious
or even fatal
collision if you drive after drinking.
Please don’t drink and drive or ride with a driver who has been drinking. Ride home in a cab; or if you’re with a group, designate a driver who will not drink.
Control of a Vehicle
You have three systems that make your vehicle go where you want it to go. They are the brakes, the steering and the accelerator. All three systems have to do their work at the places where the tires meet the road.
Braking action involves perception time and
First, you have to decide to push on the brake pedal.
That’s perception time. Then you have to bring up your foot and do it. That’s reaction time.
Average reaction time is about 3/4 of a second. But that’s only an average. It might be less with one driver and as long as two or three seconds or more with another. Age, physical condition, alertness, coordination and eyesight all play a part. So do alcohol, drugs and frustration. But even in 3/4 of a second, a vehicle moving at 60 mph (100 km/h) travels 66 feet (20 m).
That could be a lot of distance in an emergency, so keeping enough space between your vehicle and others is important.
And, of course, actual stopping distances vary greatly with the surface of the road (whether it’s pavement or gravel); the condition of the road (wet, dry, icy); tire tread; the condition of your brakes; the weight of the vehicle and the amount of brake force applied.
Sometimes, as when you’re driving on snow or ice, it’s easy to ask more of those control systems than the tires and road can provide. That means you can lose control of your vehicle.
Avoid needless heavy braking. Some people drive in spurts
heavy acceleration followed by heavy braking
rather than keeping pace with traffic. This is a mistake. Your brakes may not have time to cool between hard stops. Your brakes will wear out much faster if you do a lot of heavy braking. If you keep pace with the traffic and allow realistic following distances, you will eliminate a lot of unnecessary braking. That means better braking and longer brake life.
If your engine ever stops while you’re driving, brake normally but don’t pump your brakes. If you do, the pedal may get harder to push down. If your engine stops, you will still have some power brake assist. But you will use it when you brake. Once the power assist is used up, it may take longer to stop and the brake pedal will be harder to push.
Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS)
Your vehicle has anti
lock brakes (ABS). ABS is an advanced electronic braking system that will help prevent a braking skid.
When you start your engine and begin to drive away, your anti
lock brake system will check itself. You may hear a momentary motor or clicking noise while this test is going on, and you may even notice that your brake pedal moves a little. This is normal.
If there’s a problem with the anti
lock brake system, this warning light will stay on.
System Warning Light” in the Index.
Here’s how anti
lock works. Let’s say the road is wet. You’re driving safely. Suddenly an animal jumps out in front of you.
You slam on the brakes. Here’s what happens with ABS.
A computer senses that wheels are slowing down. If one of the wheels is about to stop rolling, the computer will separately work the brakes at each front wheel and at both rear wheels.
lock system can change the brake pressure faster than any driver could. The computer is programmed to make the most of available tire and road conditions.
You can steer around the obstacle while braking hard.
As you brake, your computer keeps receiving updates on wheel speed and controls braking pressure accordingly.
lock doesn’t change the time you need to get your foot up to the brake pedal or always decrease stopping distance. If you get too close to the vehicle in front of you, you won’t have time to apply your brakes if that vehicle suddenly slows or stops. Always leave enough room up ahead to stop, even though you have anti
Don’t pump the brakes. Just hold the brake pedal down firmly and let anti
lock work for you. You may hear the anti
lock pump or motor operate, and feel the brake pedal pulsate, but this is normal.
Braking in Emergencies
lock, you can steer and brake at the same time. In many emergencies, steering can help you more than even the very best braking.
Traction Control System
Your vehicle has a traction control system that limits wheel spin. This is especially useful in slippery road conditions.
The system operates only if it senses that one or both of the front wheels are spinning or beginning to lose traction.
When this happens, the system works the front brakes and reduces engine power to limit wheel spin.
The TRACTION ENGAGED message will display on the Driver Information Center when the traction control system is limiting wheel spin. See “Driver Information
Center Messages” in the Index. You may feel or hear the system working, but this is normal.
If your vehicle is in cruise control when the traction control system begins to limit wheel spin, the cruise control will automatically disengage. When road conditions allow you to safely use it again, you may reengage the cruise control. (See
“Cruise Control” in the Index.)
United States Canada
This warning light will come on to let you know if there’s a problem with your traction control system.
See “Traction Control System Warning Light” in the
Index. When this warning light is on, the system will not limit wheel spin. Adjust your driving accordingly.
The traction control system automatically comes on whenever you start your vehicle. To limit wheel spin, especially in slippery road conditions, you should always leave the system on. But you can turn the traction control system off if you ever need to. (You should turn the system off if your vehicle ever gets stuck in sand, mud, ice or snow. See “Rocking Your Vehicle” in the Index.)
To turn the system off, press the button located on the center console. (For vehicles with a column shifter, the button is located at the end of the shift lever.)
The TRACTION OFF message will display on the
Driver Information Center. If the system is limiting wheel spin when you press the button, the TRACTION
OFF message will display
but the system won’t turn off right away. It will wait until there’s no longer a current need to limit wheel spin.
You can turn the system back on at any time by pressing the button again. The TRACTION READY message should display briefly on the Driver Information Center.
The traction control system monitors the front brake rotor temperature. If the traction control system comes on while the front brake rotors are hot due to heavy use of braking or previous traction control, the TRACTION
SUSPENDED message will be displayed
but the system won’t turn off right away. It will wait until there’s no longer a current need to limit wheel spin. The
TRACTION READY message should appear when the brake rotors are no longer hot and the traction control system will resume normal operation.
If you lose power steering assist because the engine stops or the system is not functioning, you can steer but it will take much more effort.
This system continuously adjusts the effort you feel when steering at all vehicle speeds. It provides ease when parking yet a firm, solid feel at highway speeds.
Driving on Curves
It’s important to take curves at a reasonable speed.
A lot of the “driver lost control” accidents mentioned on the news happen on curves. Here’s why:
Experienced driver or beginner, each of us is subject to the same laws of physics when driving on curves. The traction of the tires against the road surface makes it possible for the vehicle to change its path when you turn the front wheels. If there’s no traction, inertia will keep the vehicle going in the same direction. If you’ve ever tried to steer a vehicle on wet ice, you’ll understand this.
The traction you can get in a curve depends on the condition of your tires and the road surface, the angle at which the curve is banked, and your speed.
While you’re in a curve, speed is the one factor you can control.
Suppose you’re steering through a sharp curve.
Then you suddenly accelerate. Both control systems
steering and acceleration
have to do their work where the tires meet the road. Adding the sudden acceleration can demand too much of those places. You can lose control. Refer to “Traction Control
System” in the Index.
What should you do if this ever happens? Ease up on the accelerator pedal, steer the vehicle the way you want it to go, and slow down.
If you have Stabilitrak
, you may see the STABILITY
SYS ENGAGED message on the Driver Information
Center. See “Stability Sys Engaged Message” in the Index.
Speed limit signs near curves warn that you should adjust your speed. Of course, the posted speeds are based on good weather and road conditions. Under less favorable conditions you’ll want to go slower.
If you need to reduce your speed as you approach a curve, do it before you enter the curve, while your front wheels are straight ahead.
Try to adjust your speed so you can “drive” through the curve. Maintain a reasonable, steady speed. Wait to accelerate until you are out of the curve, and then accelerate gently into the straightaway.
If you have Stabilitrak
, to help you steer in the direction you want to go, during certain sharp or sudden cornering maneuvers, gear selection is controlled. This will maximize the available drive wheel torque and minimize the transaxle response time and shift activity.
During this kind of maneuver, the transaxle shifts automatically as vehicle speed changes.
Steering in Emergencies
There are times when steering can be more effective than braking. For example, you come over a hill and find a truck stopped in your lane, or a car suddenly pulls out from nowhere, or a child darts out from between parked cars and stops right in front of you. You can avoid these problems by braking
if you can stop in time. But sometimes you can’t; there isn’t room.
That’s the time for evasive action
steering around the problem.
Your vehicle can perform very well in emergencies like these. First apply your brakes. (See “Braking in
Emergencies” earlier in this section.) It is better to remove as much speed as you can from a possible collision. Then steer around the problem, to the left or right depending on the space available.
An emergency like this requires close attention and a quick decision. If you are holding the steering wheel at the recommended 9 and 3 o’clock positions, you can turn it a full 180 degrees very quickly without removing either hand. But you have to act fast, steer quickly, and just as quickly straighten the wheel once you have avoided the object.
The fact that such emergency situations are always possible is a good reason to practice defensive driving at all times and wear safety belts properly.
You may find that your right wheels have dropped off the edge of a road onto the shoulder while you’re driving.
If the level of the shoulder is only slightly below the pavement, recovery should be fairly easy. Ease off the accelerator and then, if there is nothing in the way, steer so that your vehicle straddles the edge of the pavement.
You can turn the steering wheel up to one
quarter turn until the right front tire contacts the pavement edge.
Then turn your steering wheel to go straight down the roadway.
The driver of a vehicle about to pass another on a two
lane highway waits for just the right moment, accelerates, moves around the vehicle ahead, then goes back into the right lane again. A simple maneuver?
Not necessarily! Passing another vehicle on a two
lane highway is a potentially dangerous move, since the passing vehicle occupies the same lane as oncoming traffic for several seconds. A miscalculation, an error in judgment, or a brief surrender to frustration or anger can suddenly put the passing driver face to face with the worst of all traffic accidents
So here are some tips for passing:
D “Drive ahead.” Look down the road, to the sides and to crossroads for situations that might affect your passing patterns. If you have any doubt whatsoever about making a successful pass, wait for a better time.
D Watch for traffic signs, pavement markings and lines.
If you can see a sign up ahead that might indicate a turn or an intersection, delay your pass. A broken center line usually indicates it’s all right to pass
(providing the road ahead is clear). Never cross a solid line on your side of the lane or a double solid line, even if the road seems empty of approaching traffic.
D Do not get too close to the vehicle you want to pass while you’re awaiting an opportunity. For one thing, following too closely reduces your area of vision, especially if you’re following a larger vehicle.
Also, you won’t have adequate space if the vehicle ahead suddenly slows or stops. Keep back a reasonable distance.
D When it looks like a chance to pass is coming up, start to accelerate but stay in the right lane and don’t get too close. Time your move so you will be increasing speed as the time comes to move into the other lane. If the way is clear to pass, you will have a
“running start” that more than makes up for the distance you would lose by dropping back. And if something happens to cause you to cancel your pass, you need only slow down and drop back again and wait for another opportunity.
D If other cars are lined up to pass a slow vehicle, wait your turn. But take care that someone isn’t trying to pass you as you pull out to pass the slow vehicle.
Remember to glance over your shoulder and check the blind spot.
D Check your mirrors, glance over your shoulder, and start your left lane change signal before moving out of the right lane to pass. When you are far enough ahead of the passed vehicle to see its front in your inside mirror, activate your right lane change signal and move back into the right lane. (Remember that your right outside mirror is convex. The vehicle you just passed may seem to be farther away from you than it really is.)
D Try not to pass more than one vehicle at a time on two
lane roads. Reconsider before passing the next vehicle.
D Don’t overtake a slowly moving vehicle too rapidly.
Even though the brake lamps are not flashing, it may be slowing down or starting to turn.
D If you’re being passed, make it easy for the following driver to get ahead of you. Perhaps you can ease a little to the right.
Loss of Control
Let’s review what driving experts say about what happens when the three control systems (brakes, steering and acceleration) don’t have enough friction where the tires meet the road to do what the driver has asked.
In any emergency, don’t give up. Keep trying to steer and constantly seek an escape route or area of less danger.
In a skid, a driver can lose control of the vehicle.
Defensive drivers avoid most skids by taking reasonable care suited to existing conditions, and by not
“overdriving” those conditions. But skids are always possible.
The three types of skids correspond to your vehicle’s three control systems. In the braking skid, your wheels aren’t rolling. In the steering or cornering skid, too much speed or steering in a curve causes tires to slip and lose cornering force. And in the acceleration skid, too much throttle causes the driving wheels to spin.
A cornering skid is best handled by easing your foot off the accelerator pedal.
Remember: Any traction control system helps avoid only the acceleration skid.
If your traction control system is off, then an acceleration skid is also best handled by easing your foot off the accelerator pedal.
If your vehicle starts to slide, ease your foot off the accelerator pedal and quickly steer the way you want the vehicle to go. If you start steering quickly enough, your vehicle may straighten out. Always be ready for a second skid if it occurs.
If you have Stabilitrak
, you may see the STABILITY
SYS ENGAGED message on the Driver Information
Center. See “Stability Sys Engaged Message” in the Index.
Of course, traction is reduced when water, snow, ice, gravel or other material is on the road. For safety, you’ll want to slow down and adjust your driving to these conditions. It is important to slow down on slippery surfaces because stopping distance will be longer and vehicle control more limited.
While driving on a surface with reduced traction, try your best to avoid sudden steering, acceleration or braking (including engine braking by shifting to a lower gear). Any sudden changes could cause the tires to slide.
You may not realize the surface is slippery until your vehicle is skidding. Learn to recognize warning clues
such as enough water, ice or packed snow on the road to make a “mirrored surface”
and slow down when you have any doubt.
Remember: Any anti
lock brake system (ABS) helps avoid only the braking skid.
Driving at Night
Night driving is more dangerous than day driving.
One reason is that some drivers are likely to be impaired
by alcohol or drugs, with night vision problems, or by fatigue.
Here are some tips on night driving.
D Drive defensively.
D Don’t drink and drive.
D Adjust your inside rearview mirror to reduce the glare from headlamps behind you.
D Since you can’t see as well, you may need to slow down and keep more space between you and other vehicles.
D Slow down, especially on higher speed roads. Your headlamps can light up only so much road ahead.
D In remote areas, watch for animals.
D If you’re tired, pull off the road in a safe place and rest.
No one can see as well at night as in the daytime. But as we get older these differences increase. A 50
old driver may require at least twice as much light to see the same thing at night as a 20
What you do in the daytime can also affect your night vision. For example, if you spend the day in bright sunshine you are wise to wear sunglasses. Your eyes will have less trouble adjusting to night. But if you’re driving, don’t wear sunglasses at night. They may cut down on glare from headlamps, but they also make a lot of things invisible.
You can be temporarily blinded by approaching headlamps. It can take a second or two, or even several seconds, for your eyes to readjust to the dark. When you are faced with severe glare (as from a driver who doesn’t lower the high beams, or a vehicle with misaimed headlamps), slow down a little. Avoid staring directly into the approaching headlamps.
Keep your windshield and all the glass on your vehicle clean
inside and out. Glare at night is made much worse by dirt on the glass. Even the inside of the glass can build up a film caused by dust. Dirty glass makes lights dazzle and flash more than clean glass would, making the pupils of your eyes contract repeatedly.
Remember that your headlamps light up far less of a roadway when you are in a turn or curve. Keep your eyes moving; that way, it’s easier to pick out dimly lighted objects. Just as your headlamps should be checked regularly for proper aim, so should your eyes be examined regularly. Some drivers suffer from night blindness
the inability to see in dim light
and aren’t even aware of it.
Driving in Rain and on Wet Roads
Rain and wet roads can mean driving trouble. On a wet road, you can’t stop, accelerate or turn as well because your tire
road traction isn’t as good as on dry roads.
And, if your tires don’t have much tread left, you’ll get even less traction. It’s always wise to go slower and be cautious if rain starts to fall while you are driving. The surface may get wet suddenly when your reflexes are tuned for driving on dry pavement.
The heavier the rain, the harder it is to see. Even if your windshield wiper blades are in good shape, a heavy rain can make it harder to see road signs and traffic signals, pavement markings, the edge of the road and even people walking.
It’s wise to keep your windshield wiping equipment in good shape and keep your windshield washer tank filled with washer fluid. Replace your windshield wiper inserts when they show signs of streaking or missing areas on the windshield, or when strips of rubber start to separate from the inserts.
Driving too fast through large water puddles or even going through some car washes can cause problems, too.
The water may affect your brakes. Try to avoid puddles.
But if you can’t, try to slow down before you hit them.
Wet brakes can cause accidents. They won’t work as well in a quick stop and may cause pulling to one side. You could lose control of the vehicle.
After driving through a large puddle of water or a car wash, apply your brake pedal lightly until your brakes work normally.
Hydroplaning is dangerous. So much water can build up under your tires that they can actually ride on the water.
This can happen if the road is wet enough and you’re going fast enough. When your vehicle is hydroplaning, it has little or no contact with the road.
Hydroplaning doesn’t happen often. But it can if your tires do not have much tread or if the pressure in one or more is low. It can happen if a lot of water is standing on the road. If you can see reflections from trees, telephone poles or other vehicles, and raindrops “dimple” the water’s surface, there could be hydroplaning.
Hydroplaning usually happens at higher speeds. There just isn’t a hard and fast rule about hydroplaning. The best advice is to slow down when it is raining.
Driving Through Deep Standing Water
If you drive too quickly through deep puddles or standing water, water can come in through your engine’s air intake and badly damage your engine. Never drive through water that is slightly lower than the underbody of your vehicle. If you can’t avoid deep puddles or standing water, drive through them very slowly.
Driving Through Flowing Water
Flowing or rushing water creates strong forces. If you try to drive through flowing water, as you might at a low water crossing, your vehicle can be carried away. As little as six inches of flowing water can carry away a smaller vehicle. If this happens, you and other vehicle occupants could drown. Don’t ignore police warning signs, and otherwise be very cautious about trying to drive through flowing water.
Some Other Rainy Weather Tips
D Besides slowing down, allow some extra following distance. And be especially careful when you pass another vehicle. Allow yourself more clear room ahead, and be prepared to have your view restricted by road spray.
D Have good tires with proper tread depth. (See
“Tires” in the Index.)
One of the biggest problems with city streets is the amount of traffic on them. You’ll want to watch out for what the other drivers are doing and pay attention to traffic signals.
Here are ways to increase your safety in city driving:
D Know the best way to get to where you are going. Get a city map and plan your trip into an unknown part of the city just as you would for a cross
D Try to use the freeways that rim and crisscross most large cities. You’ll save time and energy. (See the next part, “Freeway Driving.”)
D Treat a green light as a warning signal. A traffic light is there because the corner is busy enough to need it.
When a light turns green, and just before you start to move, check both ways for vehicles that have not cleared the intersection or may be running the red light.
Mile for mile, freeways (also called thruways, parkways, expressways, turnpikes or superhighways) are the safest of all roads. But they have their own special rules.
The most important advice on freeway driving is: Keep up with traffic and keep to the right. Drive at the same speed most of the other drivers are driving. Too
fast or too
slow driving breaks a smooth traffic flow. Treat the left lane on a freeway as a passing lane.
At the entrance, there is usually a ramp that leads to the freeway. If you have a clear view of the freeway as you drive along the entrance ramp, you should begin to check traffic. Try to determine where you expect to blend with the flow. Try to merge into the gap at close to the prevailing speed. Switch on your turn signal, check your mirrors and glance over your shoulder as often as necessary. Try to blend smoothly with the traffic flow.
Once you are on the freeway, adjust your speed to the posted limit or to the prevailing rate if it’s slower. Stay in the right lane unless you want to pass.
Before changing lanes, check your mirrors. Then use your turn signal.
Just before you leave the lane, glance quickly over your shoulder to make sure there isn’t another vehicle in your
Once you are moving on the freeway, make certain you allow a reasonable following distance. Expect to move slightly slower at night.
When you want to leave the freeway, move to the proper lane well in advance. If you miss your exit, do not, under any circumstances, stop and back up. Drive on to the next exit.
The exit ramp can be curved, sometimes quite sharply.
The exit speed is usually posted.
Reduce your speed according to your speedometer, not to your sense of motion. After driving for any distance at higher speeds, you may tend to think you are going slower than you actually are.
Before Leaving on a Long Trip
Make sure you’re ready. Try to be well rested. If you must start when you’re not fresh
such as after a day’s work
don’t plan to make too many miles that first part of the journey. Wear comfortable clothing and shoes you can easily drive in.
Is your vehicle ready for a long trip? If you keep it serviced and maintained, it’s ready to go. If it needs service, have it done before starting out. Of course, you’ll find experienced and able service experts in
Cadillac dealerships all across North America. They’ll be ready and willing to help if you need it.
Here are some things you can check before a trip:
D Windshield Washer Fluid: Is the reservoir full? Are all windows clean inside and outside?
D Wiper Blades: Are they in good shape?
D Fuel, Engine Oil, Other Fluids: Have you checked all levels?
D Lamps: Are they all working? Are the lenses clean?
D Tires: They are vitally important to a safe, trouble
free trip. Is the tread good enough for long
distance driving? Are the tires all inflated to the recommended pressure?
D Weather Forecasts: What’s the weather outlook along your route? Should you delay your trip a short time to avoid a major storm system?
D Maps: Do you have up
Is there actually such a condition as “highway hypnosis”? Or is it just plain falling asleep at the wheel?
Call it highway hypnosis, lack of awareness, or whatever.
There is something about an easy stretch of road with the same scenery, along with the hum of the tires on the road, the drone of the engine, and the rush of the wind against the vehicle that can make you sleepy. Don’t let it happen to you! If it does, your vehicle can leave the road in less than a second, and you could crash and be injured.
What can you do about highway hypnosis? First, be aware that it can happen.
Then here are some tips:
D Make sure your vehicle is well ventilated, with a comfortably cool interior.
D Keep your eyes moving. Scan the road ahead and to the sides. Check your rearview mirrors and your instruments frequently.
D If you get sleepy, pull off the road into a rest, service or parking area and take a nap, get some exercise, or both. For safety, treat drowsiness on the highway as an emergency.
Hill and Mountain Roads
Driving on steep hills or mountains is different from driving in flat or rolling terrain.
If you drive regularly in steep country, or if you’re planning to visit there, here are some tips that can make your trips safer and more enjoyable.
D Keep your vehicle in good shape. Check all fluid levels and also the brakes, tires, cooling system and transaxle. These parts can work hard on mountain roads.
D Know how to go down hills. The most important thing to know is this: let your engine do some of the slowing down. Shift to a lower gear when you go down a steep or long hill.
If you don’t shift down, your brakes could get so hot that they wouldn’t work well. You would then have poor braking or even none going down a hill. You could crash. Shift down to let your engine assist your brakes on a steep downhill slope.
Coasting downhill in NEUTRAL (N) or with the ignition off is dangerous. Your brakes will have to do all the work of slowing down. They could get so hot that they wouldn’t work well. You would then have poor braking or even none going down a hill. You could crash. Always have your engine running and your vehicle in gear when you go downhill.
D Know how to go uphill. You may want to shift down to a lower gear. The lower gears help cool your engine and transaxle, and you can climb the hill better.
D Stay in your own lane when driving on two
lane roads in hills or mountains. Don’t swing wide or cut across the center of the road. Drive at speeds that let you stay in your own lane.
D As you go over the top of a hill, be alert. There could be something in your lane, like a stalled car or an accident.
D You may see highway signs on mountains that warn of special problems. Examples are long grades, passing or no
passing zones, a falling rocks area or winding roads. Be alert to these and take appropriate action.
Here are some tips for winter driving:
D Have your vehicle in good shape for winter.
D You may want to put winter emergency supplies in your trunk.
Include an ice scraper, a small brush or broom, a supply of windshield washer fluid, a rag, some winter outer clothing, a small shovel, a flashlight, a red cloth and a couple of reflective warning triangles. And, if you will be driving under severe conditions, include a small bag of sand, a piece of old carpet or a couple of burlap bags to help provide traction. Be sure you properly secure these items in your vehicle.
Driving on Snow or Ice
Most of the time, those places where your tires meet the road probably have good traction.
However, if there is snow or ice between your tires and the road, you can have a very slippery situation. You’ll have a lot less traction or “grip” and will need to be very careful.
What’s the worst time for this? “Wet ice.” Very cold snow or ice can be slick and hard to drive on. But wet ice can be even more trouble because it may offer the least traction of all. You can get wet ice when it’s about freezing (32
_F; 0_C) and freezing rain begins to fall.
Try to avoid driving on wet ice until salt and sand crews can get there.
Whatever the condition
smooth ice, packed, blowing or loose snow
drive with caution.
Keep your traction control system on. It improves your ability to accelerate when driving on a slippery road.
Even though your vehicle has a traction control system, you’ll want to slow down and adjust your driving to the road conditions. See “Traction Control System” in the Index.
lock brakes improve your vehicle’s stability when you make a hard stop on a slippery road. Even though you have the anti
lock braking system, you’ll want to begin stopping sooner than you would on dry pavement. See “Anti
Lock” in the Index.
D Allow greater following distance on any slippery road.
D Watch for slippery spots. The road might be fine until you hit a spot that’s covered with ice. On an otherwise clear road, ice patches may appear in shaded areas where the sun can’t reach: around clumps of trees, behind buildings or under bridges.
Sometimes the surface of a curve or an overpass may remain icy when the surrounding roads are clear. If you see a patch of ice ahead of you, brake before you are on it. Try not to brake while you’re actually on the ice, and avoid sudden steering maneuvers.
If You’re Caught in a Blizzard
If you are stopped by heavy snow, you could be in a serious situation. You should probably stay with your vehicle unless you know for sure that you are near help and you can hike through the snow. Here are some things to do to summon help and keep yourself and your passengers safe:
D Turn on your hazard flashers.
D Tie a red cloth to your vehicle to alert police that you’ve been stopped by the snow.
D Put on extra clothing or wrap a blanket around you.
If you have no blankets or extra clothing, make body insulators from newspapers, burlap bags, rags, floor mats
anything you can wrap around yourself or tuck under your clothing to keep warm.
Snow can trap exhaust gases under your vehicle.
This can cause deadly CO (carbon monoxide) gas to get inside. CO could overcome you and kill you. You can’t see it or smell it, so you might not know it is in your vehicle. Clear away snow from around the base of your vehicle, especially any that is blocking your exhaust pipe. And check around again from time to time to be sure snow doesn’t collect there.
Open a window just a little on the side of the vehicle that’s away from the wind. This will help keep CO out.
You can run the engine to keep warm, but be careful.
Run your engine only as long as you must. This saves fuel. When you run the engine, make it go a little faster than just idle. That is, push the accelerator slightly. This uses less fuel for the heat that you get and it keeps the battery charged. You will need a well
charged battery to restart the vehicle, and possibly for signaling later on with your headlamps. Let the heater run for a while.
Then, shut the engine off and close the window almost all the way to preserve the heat. Start the engine again and repeat this only when you feel really uncomfortable from the cold. But do it as little as possible. Preserve the fuel as long as you can. To help keep warm, you can get out of the vehicle and do some fairly vigorous exercises every half hour or so until help comes.
Recreational Vehicle Towing
Your vehicle was not designed to be towed with all four wheels on the ground. If your vehicle must be towed, see “Towing Your Vehicle” in the Index.
Towing your vehicle with all four wheels on the ground will damage drivetrain components.
Loading Your Vehicle
Two labels on your vehicle show how much weight it may properly carry. The Tire
Loading Information label found on the driver’s side center hinge pillar tells you the proper size, speed rating and recommended inflation pressures for the tires on your vehicle. It also gives you important information about the number of people that can be in your vehicle and the total weight that you can carry. This weight is called the Vehicle Capacity Weight and includes the weight of all occupants, cargo and all options not installed in the factory.
The other label is the Certification label, found on the rear edge of the driver’s door. It tells you the gross weight capacity of your vehicle, called the Gross
Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR). The GVWR includes the weight of the vehicle, all occupants, fuel and cargo.
Never exceed the GVWR for your vehicle or the
Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR) for either the front or rear axle.
If you do have a heavy load, you should spread it out.
Don’t carry more than 203 lbs. (92 kg) in the trunk.
Do not load your vehicle any heavier than the
GVWR, or either the maximum front or rear
GAWR. If you do, parts on your vehicle can break, and it can change the way your vehicle handles. These could cause you to lose control and crash. Also, overloading can shorten the life of your vehicle.
Your warranty does not cover parts or components that fail because of overloading.
If you put things inside your vehicle
like suitcases, tools, packages or anything else
they will go as fast as the vehicle goes. If you have to stop or turn quickly, or if there is a crash, they’ll keep going.
Things you put inside your vehicle can strike and injure people in a sudden stop or turn, or in a crash.
D Put things in the trunk of your vehicle. In a
trunk, put them as far forward as you can.
Try to spread the weight evenly.
D Never stack heavier things, like suitcases,
inside the vehicle so that some of them are above the tops of the seats.
D Don’t leave an unsecured child restraint in
D When you carry something inside the
vehicle, secure it whenever you can.
Electronic Level Control
This feature keeps the rear of your vehicle level as the load changes. It’s automatic
you don’t need to adjust anything.
Towing a Trailer
If you don’t use the correct equipment and drive properly, you can lose control when you pull a trailer. For example, if the trailer is too heavy, the brakes may not work well
or even at all. You and your passengers could be seriously injured.
You may also damage your vehicle; the resulting repairs would not be covered by your warranty.
Pull a trailer only if you have followed all the steps in this section. Ask your dealer for advice and information about towing a trailer with your vehicle.
Your vehicle can tow a trailer if it is equipped with the proper trailer towing equipment. To identify what the vehicle trailering capacity is for your vehicle, you should read the information in “Weight of the Trailer” that appears later in this section. But trailering is different than just driving your vehicle by itself.
Trailering means changes in handling, durability and fuel economy. Successful, safe trailering takes correct equipment, and it has to be used properly.
That’s the reason for this part. In it are many time
tested, important trailering tips and safety rules.
Many of these are important for your safety and that of your passengers. So please read this section carefully before you pull a trailer.
pulling components such as the engine, transaxle, wheel assemblies and tires are forced to work harder against the drag of the added weight. The engine is required to operate at relatively higher speeds and under greater loads, generating extra heat. What’s more, the trailer adds considerably to wind resistance, increasing the pulling requirements.
If You Do Decide To Pull A Trailer
If you do, here are some important points:
D There are many different laws, including speed limit restrictions, having to do with trailering. Make sure your rig will be legal, not only where you live but also where you’ll be driving. A good source for this information can be state or provincial police.
D Consider using a sway control if your trailer will weigh 2,000 lbs. (900 kg) or less. You should always use a sway control if your trailer will weigh more than 2,000 lbs. (900 kg). You can ask a hitch dealer about sway controls.
D Don’t tow a trailer at all during the first 1,000 miles
(1 600 km) your new vehicle is driven. Your engine, axle or other parts could be damaged.
D Then, during the first 500 miles (800 km) that you tow a trailer, don’t drive over 50 mph (80 km/h) and don’t make starts at full throttle. This helps your engine and other parts of your vehicle wear in at the heavier loads.
D Obey speed limit restrictions when towing a trailer.
Don’t drive faster than the maximum posted speed for trailers (or no more than 55 mph (90 km/h)) to save wear on your vehicle’s parts.
Three important considerations have to do with weight:
D the weight of the trailer,
D the weight of the trailer tongue
D and the total weight on your vehicle’s tires.
Weight of the Trailer
How heavy can a trailer safely be?
It should never weigh more than 2,000 lbs. (900 kg) without the optional trailer towing package. If you have the optional trailer towing package, the maximum trailer weight should never be more than 3,000 lbs. (1 350 kg).
These are total maximum weights including the load.
But even that can be too heavy.
It depends on how you plan to use your rig. For example, speed, altitude, road grades, outside temperature and how much your vehicle is used to pull a trailer are all important. And, it can also depend on any special equipment that you have on your vehicle.
The optional trailer towing package provides the necessary oil cooler to tow a trailer heavier than
2,000 lbs. (900 kg).
You can ask your dealer for our trailering information or advice, or you can write us at:
Cadillac Customer Assistance Center
Cadillac Motor Car Division
P.O. Box 436004
Pontiac, MI 48343
In Canada, write to:
General Motors of Canada Limited
Customer Communication Centre
1908 Colonel Sam Drive
Oshawa, Ontario L1H 8P7
Weight of the Trailer Tongue
The tongue load (A) of any trailer is an important weight to measure because it affects the total or gross weight of your vehicle. The Gross Vehicle Weight
(GVW) includes the curb weight of the vehicle, any cargo you may carry in it, and the people who will be riding in the vehicle. And if you tow a trailer, you must add the tongue load to the GVW because your vehicle will be carrying that weight, too. See “Loading Your
Vehicle” in the Index for more information about your vehicle’s maximum load capacity.
If you’re using a weight
carrying hitch, the trailer tongue (A) should weigh 10 percent of the total loaded trailer weight (B). If you have a weight
distributing hitch, the trailer tongue (A) should weigh 12 percent of the total loaded trailer weight (B).
After you’ve loaded your trailer, weigh the trailer and then the tongue, separately, to see if the weights are proper. If they aren’t, you may be able to get them right simply by moving some items around in the trailer.
Total Weight on Your Vehicle’s Tires
Be sure your vehicle’s tires are inflated to the upper limit for cold tires. You’ll find these numbers on the
Loading Information label at the rear edge of the driver’s door or see “Loading Your Vehicle” in the Index. Then be sure you don’t go over the
GVW limit for your vehicle, including the weight of the trailer tongue.
It’s important to have the correct hitch equipment.
Crosswinds, large trucks going by and rough roads are a few reasons why you’ll need the right hitch. Here are some rules to follow:
D The rear bumper on your vehicle is not intended for hitches. Do not attach rental hitches or other bumper
type hitches to it. Use only a frame
mounted hitch that does not attach to the bumper.
D If you’ll be pulling a trailer that, when loaded, will weigh more than 2,000 lbs. (900 kg), be sure to use a properly mounted, weight
distributing hitch and sway control of the proper size. This equipment is very important for proper vehicle loading and good handling when you’re driving.
D Will you have to make any holes in the body of your vehicle when you install a trailer hitch? If you do, then be sure to seal the holes later when you remove the hitch. If you don’t seal them, deadly carbon monoxide (CO) from your exhaust can get into your vehicle (see “Carbon Monoxide” in the Index). Dirt and water can, too.
You should always attach chains between your vehicle and your trailer. Cross the safety chains under the tongue of the trailer so that the tongue will not drop to the road if it becomes separated from the hitch. Instructions about safety chains may be provided by the hitch manufacturer or by the trailer manufacturer. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendation for attaching safety chains and do not attach them to the bumper. Always leave just enough slack so you can turn with your rig.
And, never allow safety chains to drag on the ground.
Because you have anti
lock brakes, don’t try to tap into your vehicle’s hydraulic brake system. If you do, both brake systems won’t work well, or at all. If you tow more than 1,000 lbs. (450 kg), use trailer brakes. Be sure to follow the instructions that come with the trailer or from the brake manufacturer.
Be sure to read and follow the instructions for the trailer brakes so you’ll be able to maintain them properly.
Trailer Wiring Harness (Option)
If your vehicle is equipped with the trailer towing package, your vehicle has additional wiring to attach to a trailer’s wiring harness. Contact your dealer for proper installation.
Driving with a Trailer
Towing a trailer requires a certain amount of experience.
Before setting out for the open road, you’ll want to get to know your rig. Acquaint yourself with the feel of handling and braking with the added weight of the trailer. And always keep in mind that the vehicle you are driving is now a good deal longer and not nearly as responsive as your vehicle is by itself.
Before you start, check the trailer hitch and platform
(and attachments), safety chains, electrical connector, lamps, tires and mirror adjustment. If the trailer has electric brakes, start your vehicle and trailer moving and then apply the trailer brake controller by hand to be sure the brakes are working. This lets you check your electrical connection at the same time.
During your trip, check occasionally to be sure that the load is secure, and that the lamps and any trailer brakes are still working.
Stay at least twice as far behind the vehicle ahead as you would when driving your vehicle without a trailer. This can help you avoid situations that require heavy braking and sudden turns.
You’ll need more passing distance up ahead when you’re towing a trailer. And, because you’re a good deal longer, you’ll need to go much farther beyond the passed vehicle before you can return to your lane.
Hold the bottom of the steering wheel with one hand.
Then, to move the trailer to the left, just move that hand to the left. To move the trailer to the right, move your hand to the right. Always back up slowly and, if possible, have someone guide you.
Making very sharp turns while trailering could cause the trailer to come in contact with the vehicle. Your vehicle could be damaged. Avoid making very sharp turns while trailering.
When you’re turning with a trailer, make wider turns than normal. Do this so your trailer won’t strike soft shoulders, curbs, road signs, trees or other objects. Avoid jerky or sudden maneuvers. Signal well in advance.
Turn Signals When Towing a Trailer
When you tow a trailer, your vehicle may need a different turn signal flasher and/or extra wiring. Check with your dealer. The arrows on your instrument panel will flash whenever you signal a turn or lane change.
Properly hooked up, the trailer lamps will also flash, telling other drivers you’re about to turn, change lanes or stop.
When towing a trailer, the arrows on your instrument panel will flash for turns even if the bulbs on the trailer are burned out. Thus, you may think drivers behind you are seeing your signal when they are not. It’s important to check occasionally to be sure the trailer bulbs are still working.
Driving On Grades
Reduce speed and shift to a lower gear before you start down a long or steep downgrade. If you don’t shift down, you might have to use your brakes so much that they would get hot and no longer work well.
For some grade conditions, it may be better to drive in
THIRD (3) to lessen transaxle shifting. You may wish to drive in THIRD (3) instead of DRIVE (D) while towing a trailer.
On a long uphill grade, reduce your speed to around
45 mph (70 km/h) or less to reduce the possibility of engine and transaxle overheating.
Parking on Hills
You really should not park your vehicle, with a trailer attached, on a hill. If something goes wrong, your rig could start to move. People can be injured, and both your vehicle and the trailer can be damaged.
But if you ever have to park your rig on a hill, here’s how to do it:
1. Apply your regular brakes, but do not shift into
2. Have someone place chocks under the trailer wheels.
3. When the wheel chocks are in place, release the regular brakes until the chocks absorb the load.
4. Reapply the regular brakes. Then shift into
PARK (P) firmly and apply your parking brakes.
5. Release the regular brakes.
When You Are Ready to Leave After
Parking on a Hill
1. Apply your regular brakes and hold the pedal down while you:
D Start your engine;
D Shift into a gear; and
D Be sure the parking brake has released.
2. Let up on the brake pedal.
3. Drive slowly until the trailer is clear of the chocks.
4. Stop and have someone pick up and store the chocks.
Maintenance When Trailer Towing
Your vehicle will need service more often when you’re pulling a trailer. See the Maintenance Schedule booklet for more on this. Things that are especially important in trailer operation are automatic transaxle fluid (don’t overfill), engine oil, drive belt, cooling system and brake system. If you’re trailering, it’s a good idea to review this information before you start your trip.
Check periodically to see that all hitch nuts and bolts are tight.
Engine Cooling When Trailer Towing
Your cooling system may temporarily overheat during severe operating conditions. See “Engine Overheating” in the Index.
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