Section 4 Driving Your Vehicle

Your Driving, the Road, and Your Vehicle

Defensive Driving

The best advice anyone can give about driving is: Drive defensively. Please start with a very important safety device in your vehicle: Buckle up. See Safety Belts: They Are for Everyone.

CAUTION: Defensive driving really means “Be ready for anything.” On city streets, rural roads, or expressways, 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 and be ready. Rear-end collisions are about the most preventable of accidents. Yet they are common. Allow enough following distance. Defensive driving requires that a driver concentrate on the driving task. Anything that distracts from the driving task makes proper defensive driving more difficult and can even cause a collision, with resulting injury. Ask a passenger to help do these things, or pull off the road in a safe place to do them. These simple defensive driving techniques could save your life.

Drunken Driving

Death and injury associated with drinking and driving is a national tragedy. It is 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:

• Judgment

• Muscular Coordination

 • Vision

• Attentiveness 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, more than 16,000 annual motor vehicle-related deaths have been associated with the use of alcohol, with more than 300,000 people injured. Many adults — by some estimates, nearly half the adult population — choose never to drink alcohol, so they never drive after drinking. For persons under 21, it is 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 eliminate 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 someone plans to drive? It is 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:

 • The amount of alcohol consumed

• The drinker’s body weight

• The amount of food that is consumed before and during drinking

• The length of time it has taken the drinker to consume the alcohol.

According to the American Medical Association, a 180 lb (82 kg) person who drinks three 12 ounce (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 1-1/2 ounces (45 ml) of liquors like whiskey, gin, or vodka.

It is 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 will when each has the same number of drinks. The law in most U.S. states, and throughout Canada, sets the legal limit at 0.08 percent. In some other countries, the limit is even lower. For example, it is 0.05 percent in both France and Germany. 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 have 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 will be careful” is not the right answer. What if there is 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 is something else about drinking and driving that many people do not 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.

CAUTION: 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 do not drink and drive or ride with a driver who has been drinking. Ride home in a cab; or if you are with a group, designate a driver who will not drink.

Control of a Vehicle

The following three systems help to control your vehicle while driving — brakes, steering, and accelerator. At times, as when driving on snow or ice, it is easy to ask more of those control systems than the tires and road can provide. Meaning, you can lose control of your vehicle. See Traction Control System (TCS) and Enhanced Traction System (ETS) . Adding non-dealer/non-retailer accessories can affect your vehicle’s performance. See Accessories and Modifications .


See Brake System Warning Light . Braking action involves perception time and reaction time. First, you have to decide to push on the brake pedal. That is perception time. Then you have to bring up your foot and do it. That is reaction time. Average reaction time is about three-fourths of a second. But that is 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 three-fourths 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 is pavement or gravel; the condition of the road, whether it is wet, dry, or icy; tire tread; the condition of the brakes; the weight of the vehicle; and the amount of brake force applied.

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. The brakes may not have time to cool between hard stops. The 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 vehicle’s engine ever stops while you are driving, brake normally but do not pump the brakes. If you do, the pedal may get harder to push down. If the 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. Adding non-GM accessories can affect your vehicle’s performance. See Accessories and Modifications .

Anti-Lock Brake System (ABS)

Your vehicle might have the Anti-Lock Brake System (ABS), an advanced electronic braking system that will help prevent a braking skid.

If your vehicle has ABS, this warning light on the instrument panel will come on briefly when you start your vehicle.

When you start the engine, or when you begin to drive away, ABS will check itself. You might hear a momentary motor or clicking noise while this test is going on, and you might even notice that the brake pedal moves or pulses a little. This is normal.

Let us say the road is wet and you are driving safely. Suddenly, an animal jumps out in front of you. You slam on the brakes and continue braking. Here is 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 wheel. ABS can change the brake pressure faster than any driver could. The computer is programmed to make the most of available tire and road conditions. This can help you steer around the obstacle while braking hard.

As you brake, the computer keeps receiving updates on wheel speed and controls braking pressure accordingly.

Remember: ABS does not 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 will not have time to apply the brakes if that vehicle suddenly slows or stops. Always leave enough room up ahead to stop, even though you have ABS.

 Using ABS

 Do not pump the brakes. Just hold the brake pedal down firmly and let anti-lock work for you. You might feel a slight brake pedal pulsation or notice some noise, but this is normal.

Braking in Emergencies

At some time, nearly every driver gets into a situation that requires hard braking. If you have ABS, you can steer and brake at the same time. However, if you do not have ABS, your first reaction — to hit the brake pedal hard and hold it down — might be the wrong thing to do. Your wheels can stop rolling. Once they do, the vehicle cannot respond to your steering. Momentum will carry it in whatever direction it was headed when the wheels stopped rolling. That could be off the road, into the very thing you were trying to avoid, or into traffic. If you do not have ABS, use a “squeeze” braking technique. This will give you maximum braking while maintaining steering control. You can do this by pushing on the brake pedal with steadily increasing pressure. In an emergency, you will probably want to squeeze the brakes hard without locking the wheels. If you hear or feel the wheels sliding, ease off the brake pedal. This will help you retain steering control. If you do have ABS, it is different. See Anti-Lock Brake System (ABS) . In many emergencies, steering can help you more than even the very best braking.

Traction Control System (TCS)

If the vehicle has the 3800 Supercharged V6 engine or the 5.3L V8 engine, it has a Traction Control System (TCS) 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.

This symbol, along with the TRACTION CONTROL ACTIVE message, comes on
the DIC screen when the system is active.

You may feel or hear the system working, but this is normal.

When the traction control system is not working, one of these symbols will come on the instrument panel cluster.

This symbol is located on the instrument panel cluster.

This symbol, along with the message TRACTION CONTROL OFF will display in the DIC for three seconds when the traction control system is disabled.

If there is a problem with the system, the service traction system will also appear on the DIC. When these symbols and messages appear on the instrument panel and the DIC, the system will not limit wheel spin. Adjust driving accordingly. The traction control system automatically comes on whenever the vehicle is started. To limit wheel spin, especially in slippery road conditions, always leave the system on. But the traction control system can be turned off if needed. The system should be turned off if the vehicle ever gets stuck in sand, mud, or snow and rocking the vehicle is required. See Rocking Your Vehicle to Get It Out and If Your Vehicle is Stuck in Sand, Mud, Ice, or Snow for more information.

Press the traction control button located on the console to turn the system off.

If the system is limiting wheel spin when the traction control button is pressed, the system will turn off instantly. Turn the system back on at any time by pressing the button again. If the 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 safe use of it, the cruise control can be used again. See Cruise Control . Adding non-GM accessories can affect your vehicle’s performance. See Accessories and Modifications for more information.

Enhanced Traction System (ETS)

If the vehicle has the 3800 V6 engine and anti-lock brakes, it has an Enhanced Traction System (ETS) 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 reduces engine power and may also upshift the transaxle to limit wheel spin.

This symbol comes on the Driver Information Center (DIC) when the ETS is limiting
wheel spin.

If the vehicle is in cruise control when ETS begins to limit wheel spin, the cruise control will automatically disengage. When road conditions allow safe use of it, the cruise control can be used again. See Cruise Control . ETS operates in all transaxle shift lever positions. But the system can upshift the transaxle only as high as the chosen shift lever position, so use the lower gears only when necessary. See Automatic Transaxle Operation .

One of these lights will appear on the instrument panel to indicate that the ETS is not on.

This symbol, along with the message TRACTION CONTROL OFF will display on the DIC for three seconds when the ETS is not on.

If there is a problem with the system, the service traction system will also come on in the DIC. See Enhanced Traction System Warning Light . When this warning light is on, the system will not limit wheel spin. Adjust driving accordingly. To limit wheel spin, especially in slippery road conditions, the ETS should always be left on. But the system can be turned off. The system should be turned off if the vehicle ever gets stuck in sand, mud, or snow and rocking the vehicle is required. See Rocking Your Vehicle to Get It Out and If Your Vehicle is Stuck in Sand, Mud, Ice, or Snow for more information.

Press the traction control button located on the console to turn the system off.

If the system is limiting wheel spin when the button is pressed, the system will turn off instantly. Press the traction control button again to turn the system on.

StabiliTrak® Plus System

The vehicle may have a vehicle stability enhancement system called StabiliTrak® Plus. It is an advanced computer controlled system that assists with directional control of the vehicle in difficult driving conditions. StabiliTrak® Plus comes on whenever the vehicle is started. It activates when the computer senses a discrepancy between the intended path and the direction the vehicle is actually traveling. StabiliTrak® Plus selectively applies braking pressure at any one of the vehicle’s brakes to help control the vehicle in the steering direction.

This symbol, along with the STABILITY CONTROL ACTIVE message comes on
the Driver Information Center (DIC).

See DIC Warnings and Messages . You may also hear a noise or feel vibration in the brake pedal. This is normal. Continue to steer the vehicle in the desired direction.

This symbol will appear on the DIC.

If there is a problem detected with StabiliTrak® Plus, this symbol along with the SERVICE STABILITY SYSTEM warning message will come on the DIC. See DIC Warnings and Messages . When this message is displayed, the system is not operational. Driving should be adjusted accordingly. To turn the StabiliTrak® system off (GXP only), press and hold the traction control button for more than five seconds. A message will appear on the DIC indicating that StabiliTrak® has been turned off. You can turn the system back on at any time by pressing the button again. If the vehicle is in cruise control when StabiliTrak® Plus activates, the cruise control will automatically disengage. When road conditions allow safe use of it, the cruise control can be used again. See Cruise Control for more information.


Power Steering

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.

Variable Effort Steering

If your vehicle has this steering system, the system provides less steering effort for parking and when driving at speeds below 20 mph (32 km/h). Steering effort will increase at higher speeds for improved road feel.

Steering Tips

It is important to take curves at a reasonable speed. A lot of the “driver lost control” accidents mentioned on the news happen on curves. Here is 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 is no traction, inertia will keep the vehicle going in the same direction. If you have ever tried to steer a vehicle on wet ice, you will understand this. The traction you can get in a curve depends on the condition of the tires and the road surface, the angle at which the curve is banked, and your speed. While you are in a curve, speed is the one factor you can control. Suppose you are steering through a sharp curve. Then you suddenly apply the brakes. Both control systems — steering and braking — have to do their work where the tires meet the road. Unless you have four-wheel anti-lock brakes, adding the hard braking can demand too much of those places. You can lose control. The same thing can happen if you are steering through a sharp curve and you suddenly accelerate. Those two control systems — steering and acceleration — can overwhelm those places where the tires meet the road and make you lose control. See Traction Control System (TCS) or Enhanced Traction System (ETS) . What should you do if this ever happens? Ease up on the brake or accelerator pedal, steer the vehicle the way you want it to go, and slow down. 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 will want to go slower. If you need to reduce your speed as you approach a curve, do it before you enter the curve, while the 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. Adding non-dealer/non-retailer accessories can affect your vehicle’s performance. See Accessories and Modifications . 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 cannot; there is not room. That is the time for evasive action — steering around the problem. Your vehicle can perform very well in emergencies like these. First apply the brakes. See Braking . 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.

Off-Road Recovery

You may find that your vehicle’s right wheels have dropped off the edge of a road onto the shoulder while you are 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 the 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 — the head-on collision.

So here are some tips for passing:

• 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.

 • 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 is 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.

• Do not get too close to the vehicle you want to pass while you are awaiting an opportunity. For one thing, following too closely reduces your area of vision, especially if you are following a larger vehicle. Also, you will not have adequate space if the vehicle ahead suddenly slows or stops. Keep back a reasonable distance.

• When it looks like a chance to pass is coming up, start to accelerate but stay in the right lane and do not 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.

• If other vehicles are lined up to pass a slow vehicle, wait your turn. But take care that someone is not trying to pass you as you pull out to pass the slow vehicle. Remember to glance over your shoulder and check the blind spot.

• Check your vehicle’s 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 vehicle’s inside mirror, activate the right lane change signal and move back into the right lane. Remember that an outside convex mirror makes the vehicle you just passed seem farther away from you than it really is.

• Try not to pass more than one vehicle at a time on two-lane roads. Reconsider before passing the next vehicle.

• Do not overtake a slowly moving vehicle too rapidly. Even though the brake lamps are not flashing, it might be slowing down or starting to turn.

• If you are 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 us review what driving experts say about what happens when the three control systems — brakes, steering, and acceleration — do not have enough friction where the tires meet the road to do what the driver has asked. In any emergency, do not give up. Keep trying to steer and constantly seek an escape route or area of less danger. Skidding 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, the wheels are not 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. If you do not have the Enhanced Traction System (ETS) or the Traction Control System (TCS), or if the system is off, then an acceleration skid is also best handled by easing your foot off the accelerator pedal. See Enhanced Traction System (ETS) or Traction Control System (TCS) .

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. Of course, traction is reduced when water, snow, ice, gravel, or other material is on the road. For safety, you will 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 reducing vehicle speed 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. If you have the Anti-Lock Brake System (ABS), remember: It helps avoid only the braking skid. If you do not have ABS, then in a braking skid, where the wheels are no longer rolling, release enough pressure on the brakes to get the wheels rolling again. This restores steering control. Push the brake pedal down steadily when you have to stop suddenly. As long as the wheels are rolling, you will have steering control.

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.

• Drive defensively.

• Do not drink and drive.

• Adjust the inside rearview mirror to reduce the glare from headlamps behind you.

• Since you cannot see as well, slow down and keep more space between you and other vehicles.

• Slow down, especially on higher speed roads. Your vehicle’s headlamps can light up only so much road ahead.

• In remote areas, watch for animals.

• If you are 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-year-old driver might require at least twice as much light to see the same thing at night as a 20-year-old. 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 are driving, do not wear sunglasses at night. They might 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 re-adjust to the dark. When you are faced with severe glare, as from a driver who does not lower the high beams, or a vehicle with misaimed headlamps, slow down a little. Avoid staring directly into the approaching headlamps.

Keep the 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 the headlamps light up far less of a roadway when you are in a turn or curve. Keep your eyes moving; that way, it is easier to pick out dimly lighted objects. Just as the 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 are not even aware of it.

Driving in Rain and on Wet Roads

Rain and wet roads can mean driving trouble. On a wet road, you cannot stop, accelerate, or turn as well because your tire-to-road traction is not as good as on dry roads. And, if your tires do not have much tread left, you will get even less traction. It is 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 is wise to keep your windshield wiping equipment in good shape and keep your windshield washer fluid reservoir 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.

Wet brakes can cause accidents. They may not 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 the brake pedal lightly until the brakes work normally.

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 cannot, try to slow down before you hit them. Hydroplaning 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 are going fast enough. When your vehicle is hydroplaning, it has little or no contact with the road. Hydroplaning does not 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 is not a hard and fast rule about hydroplaning. The best advice is to slow down when it is raining.

Driving Through Deep Standing Water Notice: If you drive too quickly through deep puddles or standing water, water can come in through the engine’s air intake and badly damage the engine. Never drive through water that is slightly lower than the underbody of your vehicle. If you cannot avoid deep puddles or standing water, drive through them very slowly. Driving Through Flowing Water

CAUTION: 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. Do not ignore police warning signs, and otherwise be very cautious about trying to drive through flowing water.

Some Other Rainy Weather Tips

 • 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.

• Have good tires with proper tread depth. See Tires .

City Driving

One of the biggest problems with city streets is the amount of traffic on them.

 You will 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:

• 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-country trip.

 • Try to use the freeways that rim and crisscross most large cities. You will save time and energy. See Freeway Driving .

• 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.

Freeway Driving

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 is 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 is not another vehicle in your blind spot. 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 are ready. Try to be well rested. If you must start when you are not fresh — such as after a day’s work — do not 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 is ready to go. If it needs service, have it done before starting out. Of course, you will find experienced and able service experts in GM dealerships all across North America. They will be ready and willing to help if you need it.

Here are some things you can check before a trip:

• Windshield Washer Fluid: Is the reservoir full? Are all windows clean inside and outside?

 • Wiper Blades: Are they in good shape?

• Fuel, Engine Oil, Other Fluids: Have you checked all levels?

• Lamps: Are they all working? Are the lenses clean?

 • 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?

• Weather Forecasts: What is the weather outlook along your route? Should you delay your trip a short time to avoid a major storm system?

• Maps: Do you have up-to-date maps?

Highway Hypnosis

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. Do not 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:

 • Make sure your vehicle is well ventilated, with a comfortably cool interior.

• Keep your eyes moving. Scan the road ahead and to the sides. Check your rearview mirrors and your instruments frequently.

• 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 are planning to visit there, here are some tips that can make your trips safer and more enjoyable.

• 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.

CAUTION: If you do not shift down, the brakes could get so hot that they would not work well. You would then have poor braking or even none going down a hill. You could crash. Shift down to let the engine assist the brakes on a steep downhill slope. Coasting downhill in NEUTRAL (N) or with the ignition off is dangerous. The brakes will have to do all the work of slowing down. They could get so hot that they would not work well. You would then have poor braking or even none going down a hill. You could crash. Always have the engine running and your vehicle in gear when you go downhill.

• 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.

• Stay in your own lane when driving on two-lane roads in hills or mountains. Do not swing wide or cut across the center of the road. Drive at speeds that let you stay in your own lane.

• 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.

• 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.

Winter Driving

Here are some tips for winter driving:

• Have your vehicle in good shape for winter.

 • You may want to put winter emergency supplies in your trunk. Also see Tires .

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 the tires meet the road probably have good traction. However, if there is snow or ice between the tires and the road, you can have a very slippery situation. You will have a lot less traction, or grip, and will need to be very careful.

What is 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 is 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. If you have the Traction Control System (TCS) or the Enhanced Traction System (ETS), it will improve your ability to accelerate when driving on a slippery road. Even though your vehicle has a traction system you will want to slow down and adjust your driving to the road conditions. Under certain conditions, you may want to turn the TCS or ETS off, such as when driving through deep snow and loose gravel, to help maintain vehicle motion at lower speeds. See Traction Control System (TCS) or Enhanced Traction System (ETS) . If you do not have TCS or ETS, accelerate gently. Try not to break the fragile traction. If you accelerate too fast, the drive wheels will spin and polish the surface under the tires even more. Unless you have the Anti-Lock Brake System (ABS), you will want to brake very gently, too. If you do have ABS, see Anti-Lock Brake System (ABS) . This system improves your vehicle’s stability when you make a hard stop on a slippery road. Whether you have ABS or not, you will want to begin stopping sooner than you would on dry pavement. Without ABS, if you feel your vehicle begin to slide, let up on the brakes a little. Push the brake pedal down steadily to get the most traction you can.

Remember, unless you have ABS, if you brake so hard that your wheels stop rolling, you will just slide. Brake so your wheels always keep rolling and you can still steer.

 • Whatever your braking system, allow greater following distance on any slippery road.

• Watch for slippery spots. The road might be fine until you hit a spot that is covered with ice.

On an otherwise clear road, ice patches may appear in shaded areas where the sun cannot reach, such as 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 are actually on the ice, and avoid sudden steering maneuvers. If You Are 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:

• Turn on your hazard flashers.

• Tie a red cloth to your vehicle to alert police that you have been stopped by the snow.

• Put on extra clothing or wrap a blanket around you. If you do not have 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.

You can run the engine to keep warm, but be careful.

CAUTION: 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 cannot 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 the exhaust pipe. And check around again from time to time to be sure snow does not collect there. Open a window just a little on the side of the vehicle that is away from the wind. This will help keep CO out.

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.

If Your Vehicle is Stuck in Sand, Mud, Ice, or Snow

In order to free your vehicle when it is stuck, you will need to spin the wheels, but you do not want to spin your wheels too fast. The method known as rocking can help you get out when you are stuck, but you must use caution.

CAUTION: If you let your vehicle’s tires spin at high speed, they can explode, and you or others could be injured. And, the transaxle or other parts of the vehicle can overheat. That could cause an engine compartment fire or other damage. When you are stuck, spin the wheels as little as possible. Do not spin the wheels above 35 mph (55 km/h) as shown on the speedometer.

Notice: Spinning the wheels can destroy parts of your vehicle as well as the tires. If you spin the wheels too fast while shifting the transaxle back and forth, you can destroy the transaxle. See Rocking Your Vehicle to Get It Out . For information about using tire chains on your vehicle, see Tire Chains .

Rocking Your Vehicle to Get It Out

First, turn the steering wheel left and right. That will clear the area around the front wheels. If your vehicle has traction control, you should turn the traction control system off. See Traction Control System (TCS) . Then shift back and forth between REVERSE (R) and a forward gear, spinning the wheels as little as possible. Release the accelerator pedal while you shift, and press lightly on the accelerator pedal when the transaxle is in gear. By slowly spinning the wheels in the forward and reverse directions, you will cause a rocking motion that may free your vehicle. If that does not get your vehicle out after a few tries, it may need to be towed out. If your vehicle does need to be towed out, see Towing Your Vehicle .

Loading Your Vehicle

It is very important to know how much weight your vehicle can carry. Two labels on your vehicle show how much weight it may properly carry, the Tire and Loading Information label and the Vehicle Certification label.

CAUTION: Do not load your vehicle any heavier than the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR), or either the maximum front or rear Gross Axle Weight Rating (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.

Tire and Loading Information Label

Label Example

A vehicle specific Tire and Loading Information label is attached to the vehicle’s center pillar (B-pillar). With the driver’s door open, you will find the label attached below the door lock post (striker). The Tire and Loading Information label lists the number of occupant seating positions (A), and the maximum vehicle capacity weight (B) in kilograms and pounds. The vehicle capacity weight includes the weight of all occupants, cargo, and all nonfactory-installed options. The Tire and Loading Information label also lists the tire size of the original equipment tires (C) and the recommended cold tire inflation pressures (D). For more information on tires and inflation, see Tires and Inflation – Tire Pressure . There is also important loading information on the Certification label. It tells you the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) and the Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR) for the front and rear axle, see “Certification Label” later in this section.

Steps for Determining Correct Load Limit

1. Locate the statement “The combined weight of occupants and cargo should never exceed XXX kg or XXX lbs” on your vehicle’s placard.

2. Determine the combined weight of the driver and passengers that will be riding in your vehicle.

3. Subtract the combined weight of the driver and passengers from XXX kg or XXX lbs.

4. The resulting figure equals the available amount of cargo and luggage load capacity. For example, if the “XXX” amount equals 1400 lbs and there will be five 150 lb passengers in your vehicle, the amount of available cargo and luggage load capacity is 650 lbs (1400 750 (5 x 150) = 650 lbs).

5. Determine the combined weight of luggage and cargo being loaded on the vehicle. That weight may not safely exceed the available cargo and luggage load capacity calculated in Step 4.

6. If your vehicle will be towing a trailer, the load from your trailer will be transferred to your vehicle. Consult this manual to determine how this reduces the available cargo and luggage load capacity for your vehicle. If your vehicle can tow a trailer, see Towing a Trailer for important information on towing a trailer, towing safety rules, and trailering tips.

Example 1
Example 2
Example 3

Refer to your vehicle’s Tire and Loading Information label for specific information about your vehicle’s maximum vehicle capacity weight and seating positions. The combined weight of the driver, passengers, and cargo should never exceed your vehicle’s maximum vehicle capacity weight.

Certification Label

A vehicle specific Certification label is found on the rear edge of the driver’s door. The label shows 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 the vehicle is going to carry a heavy load, spread it out. See “Steps for Determining Correct Load Limit” earlier in this section.

CAUTION: Do not load your vehicle any heavier than the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR), or either the maximum front or rear Gross Axle Weight Rating (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.

Notice: Overloading your vehicle may cause damage. Repairs would not be covered by your warranty. Do not overload your vehicle. If things like suitcases, tools, packages, or anything else are put inside the vehicle, they will go as fast as the vehicle goes. If you have to stop or turn quickly, or if there is a crash, they will keep going.

CAUTION: Things you put inside your vehicle can strike and injure people in a sudden stop or turn, or in a crash. • 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. • Never stack heavier things, like suitcases, inside the vehicle so that some of them are above the tops of the seats. • Do not leave an unsecured child restraint in your vehicle. • When you carry something inside the vehicle, secure it whenever you can. • Do not leave a seat folded down unless you need to.


Towing Your Vehicle

Consult your dealer or a professional towing service if you need to have your disabled vehicle towed. See Roadside Assistance Program . If you want to tow your vehicle behind another vehicle for recreational purposes (such as behind a motorhome), see “Recreational Vehicle Towing” following.

Recreational Vehicle Towing

Recreational vehicle towing means towing your vehicle behind another vehicle – such as behind a motorhome. The two most common types of recreational vehicle towing are known as dinghy towing, towing your vehicle with all four wheels on the ground, and dolly towing, towing your vehicle with two wheels on the ground and two wheels up on a device known as a dolly.

With the proper preparation and equipment, many vehicles can be towed in these ways. See “Dinghy Towing” and “Dolly Towing,” following. Here are some important things to consider before you do recreational vehicle towing:

• What is the towing capacity of the towing vehicle? Be sure to read the tow vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations.

• How far will the vehicle be towed? Some vehicles have restrictions on how far and how long they can tow.

• Do you have the proper towing equipment? See your dealer or trailering professional for additional advice and equipment recommendations.

• Is the vehicle ready to be towed? Just as you would prepare your vehicle for a long trip, you will want to make sure the vehicle is prepared to be towed.

 See Before Leaving on a Long Trip . Dinghy Towing Notice: If you tow your vehicle with all four wheels on the ground, the drivetrain components could be damaged. The repairs would not be covered by your warranty. Do not tow your vehicle with all four wheels on the ground. The vehicle was not designed to be towed with all four wheels on the ground. If the vehicle must be towed, use a dolly. See “Dolly Towing” following for more information.

Dolly Towing

The vehicle can be towed using a dolly. To tow your vehicle using a dolly, follow these steps:

 1. Put the front wheels on the dolly.

2. Put the vehicle in PARK (P).

3. Set the parking brake and then remove the key.

4. Clamp the steering wheel in a straight-ahead position.

 5. Release the parking brake.

Towing a Trailer

CAUTION: If you do not 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.

The vehicle can tow a trailer if it is equipped with the proper trailer towing equipment. To identify the trailering capacity of the vehicle, read the information in “Weight of the Trailer” that appears later in this section. Trailering is different than just driving the 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 is 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 pulling a trailer. Load-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. The trailer also adds considerably to wind resistance, increasing the pulling requirements.

If You Do Decide To Pull A Trailer

 Here are some important points:

• 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 will be driving. A good source for this information can be state or provincial police.

• Consider using a sway control. Ask a hitch dealer about sway controls.

 • Do not tow a trailer at all during the first 1,000 miles (1 600 km) the new vehicle is driven. The engine, axle, or other parts could be damaged.

• Then, during the first 500 miles (800 km) that the vehicle tows a trailer, do not drive over 50 mph (80 km/h) and do not make starts at full throttle. This helps the engine and other parts of the vehicle wear in at the heavier loads.

 • Obey speed limit restrictions when towing a trailer. Do not drive faster than the maximum posted speed for trailers, or no more than 55 mph (90 km/h), to save wear on the vehicle’s parts. Three important considerations have to do with weight:

• The weight of the trailer

• The weight of the trailer tongue

• 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 1,000 lbs (454 kg). 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 the vehicle is used to pull a trailer are all important. It can also depend on any special equipment that is on the vehicle, and the amount of tongue weight the vehicle can carry. See “Weight of the Trailer Tongue” later in this section for more information. Maximum trailer weight is calculated assuming only the driver is in the tow vehicle and it has all the required trailering equipment. The weight of additional optional equipment, passengers and cargo in the tow vehicle must be subtracted from the maximum trailer weight. Ask your dealer for our trailering information or advice, or write us at our Customer Assistance Ofices. See Customer Assistance Offices for more information. 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 the vehicle. The Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW) includes the curb weight of the vehicle, any cargo in it, and the people who will be riding in the vehicle. If there are a lot of options, equipment, passengers and cargo in the vehicle, it will reduce the tongue weight the vehicle can carry, which will also reduce the trailer weight the vehicle can tow. And if towing a trailer, the tongue load must be added to the GVW because the vehicle will be carrying that weight, too. See Loading Your Vehicle for more information about your vehicle’s maximum load capacity.

When using a weight-carrying hitch or a weight-distributing hitch, the trailer tongue (A) should weigh 10 to 15 percent of the total loaded trailer weight (B). After the trailer is loaded, weigh the trailer and then the tongue, separately, to see if the weights are proper. The correct weight could be achieved simply by moving some items around in the trailer. Total Weight on Your Vehicle’s Tires Be sure the vehicle’s tires are inflated to the upper limit for cold tires. These numbers can be found on the Tire and Loading Information label, that is located on the driver’s side center B-pillar. See Loading Your Vehicle . Be sure not to go over the GVW limit for the vehicle, or the GAWR, including the weight of the trailer tongue. If a weight distribution hitch is used, make sure not to go over the rear axle limit before applying the weight distribution spring bars. Hitches It is important to have the correct hitch equipment. Crosswinds, large trucks going by, and rough roads are a few reasons why the correct hitch is needed. Here are some rules to follow:

 • The rear bumper on the 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.

 • If any holes need to be made in the body of the vehicle to install a trailer hitch, then be sure to seal the holes later when the hitch is removed. If the holes are not sealed, deadly carbon monoxide (CO) from the exhaust can get into the vehicle. See Engine Exhaust . Dirt and water can, too.

Safety Chains

Always attach chains between the vehicle and the 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 the rig can be turned around. And, never allow safety chains to drag on the ground.

 Trailer Brakes

Does your trailer have its own brakes? Be sure to read and follow the instructions for the trailer brakes so you’ll be able to install, adjust and maintain them properly.

 • If your vehicle has anti-lock brakes, do not try to tap into your vehicle’s brake system. If you do, both brake systems won’t work well, or at all.

• Even if your vehicle doesn’t have anti-lock brakes, don’t tap into your vehicle’s brake system if the trailer’s brake system will use more than 0.02 cubic inch (0.3 cc) of fluid from your vehicle’s master cylinder. If it does, both braking systems won’t work well. You could even lose your brakes.

 • Will the trailer brake parts take 3,000 psi (20 650 kPa) of pressure? If not, the trailer brake system must not be used with your vehicle.

 • If everything checks out this far, then make the brake fluid tap at the upper rear master cylinder port. But don’t use copper tubing for this. If you do, it will bend and break off. Use steel brake tubing.

Driving with a Trailer

 Towing a trailer requires a certain amount of experience. Before setting out for the open road, get to know the 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 is now a good deal longer and not nearly as responsive as the vehicle is by itself. Before starting, check the trailer hitch and platform (and attachments), safety chains, electrical connector, lamps, tires, and mirror adjustment. If the trailer has electric brakes, start the vehicle and trailer moving and then apply the trailer brake controller by hand to be sure the brakes are working. This lets you check the 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.

 Following Distance

 Stay at least twice as far behind the vehicle ahead as when driving the vehicle without a trailer. This can prevent situations that require heavy braking and sudden turns.


More passing distance is needed up ahead when towing a trailer. And, because the vehicle and trailer are a good deal longer, distances between any vehicles that are passed must be greater, before returning to the proper lane.

Backing Up

Hold the bottom of the steering wheel with one hand. Then, to move the trailer to the left, move that hand to the left. To move the trailer to the right, move that hand to the right. Always back up slowly and, if possible, have someone guide you.

Making Turns Notice: 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 turning with a trailer, make wider turns than normal. Do this so the trailer will not 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 towing a trailer, the vehicle may need a different turn signal flasher and/or extra wiring. Check with your dealer. The arrows on the instrument panel will flash whenever signaling a turn or lane change. Properly hooked up, the trailer lamps will also flash, telling other drivers the vehicle and trailer are about to turn, change lanes, or stop. When towing a trailer, the arrows on the instrument panel will flash for turns even if the bulbs on the trailer are burned out. You may think drivers behind you are seeing the turn signal when they are not. It is important to check occasionally to be sure the trailer bulbs are still working. The vehicle has bulb warning lights. When a trailer lighting system is plugged into the vehicle’s lighting system, its bulb warning lights may not indicate if one of the lamps goes out. So, when a trailer lighting system is plugged in, be sure to check the vehicle and trailer lamps from time to time to be sure they are all working. Once the trailer lamps have been disconnected, the bulb warning lights can once again indicate if one of the vehicle lamps is out.

Driving On Grades

 Reduce speed and shift to a lower gear before starting down a long or steep downgrade. If the vehicle is not shifted down, the brakes may have to be used so much that they would get hot and no longer work well. On a long uphill grade, shift down and reduce the vehicle’s speed to around 45 mph (70 km/h) to reduce the possibility of engine and transaxle overheating. If the vehicle has overdrive, it may be driven in THIRD (3) instead of DRIVE (D).

Parking on Hills

CAUTION: 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 the rig ever has to be parked on a hill, here is how to do it:

 1. Apply the regular brakes, but do not shift into PARK (P) yet.

 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 apply the parking brake, and then shift to PARK (P).

5. Release the regular brakes.

When You Are Ready to Leave After Parking on a Hill

  1. Apply the regular brakes and hold the pedal down while you:

 • Start the engine

• Shift into a gear

• Release the parking brake

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 The vehicle will need service more often when it pulls a trailer. See Scheduled Maintenance for more information. Things that are especially important in trailer operation are automatic transaxle fluid, which should not be overfilled, engine oil, drive belts, cooling, and brake systems. Each of these is covered in this manual, and the Index will help locate them quickly. If trailering, it is a good idea to review this information before starting on a trip. Check periodically to see that all hitch nuts and bolts are tight.

Engine Cooling

When Trailer Towing The cooling system may temporarily overheat during severe operating conditions. See Engine Overheating .

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