Meet Butler Rental Manager Chris Hansen

Chris Hansen WebOver the years, Chris has slowly migrated West. Born and raised in Iowa, his travels started in his teens when he transferred to a school in Missouri.  From there he accepted a job as a tractor mechanic in Oregon so high-tailed it to Klamath Falls.  Then, his wife, Judy, took a job in the Rogue Valley so, once again, Chris packed up and traversed another mountain range to land in his current location.

Since then, Chris’s work life has taken many incarnations but he’s spent most of his time in automotive sales.  Now, he runs Butler Auto Group’s Rental department, setting customers up with vehicle rental packages that meet their needs.  You’ll find him at Butler’s Ashland location Monday through Friday (although he will allow renters to return vehicles when he’s not working).  “I love my job,” he says.  “It keeps me busy and I get to see lots of people… and they’re normally happy!  I even work for great people.  This is a once in a lifetime job.”

When he’s not working Chris spends time with Judy and, whenever possible, their two grown kids and granddaughter.  His hobbies include photography, bird watching, woodworking, and pampering his ’94 Mustang convertible, rumored to have been the first of its kind sold in the Rogue Valley.

Driving in Ice and Snow

fordWhile driving in what were, by Southern Oregon standards, blizzard conditions last Friday afternoon, I made a serious mistake.  I assumed the drive would be easy for two reasons:  1.  I drive a trusty 4×4, and 2. I’m a Pacific Northwesterner, which means I totally know what I’m doing.  While point two is debatable, I would have put money on the Jeep coming through for me even as roads iced up and conditions got more and more slick by the minute.  I would have lost that bet.  Even after putting the rig into 4-wheel low the going was anything but easy.  Taking off from a stop sent us skidding sideways.  Braking did the same.  Those beefy all-terrain tires I just had to have?  Yeah, they didn’t do me any favors.

Two hours later, when we finally skidded into our snow-covered driveway I realized it’s been too long since my inclement-weather driving skills have been put to the test.  I realized it was time for a refresher course.  Safemotorist.com offers the following advice.  I’ve read through it and internized the information so as to be better prepared the next time.  How about you?

  • Get the feel of the road by starting out slowly and testing your steering control            and braking ability. Avoid spinning your tires when you start by gently pressing            your gas pedal until the car starts to roll. Start slowing down at least three times            sooner than you normally would when turning or stopping.
  • Equip your vehicle with chains or snow tires. Chains are by far the most effective,            and they should be used where ice and snow remain on the roadway. Remember that snow tires will slide on ice or packed snow so keep your distance.
  • Reduce your speed to correspond with conditions. There is no such thing as a “safe”     speed range at which you may drive on snow or ice. You must be extremely cautious until you are able to determine how much traction you can expect from your tires.
  • When stopping, avoid sudden movements of the steering wheel and pump the brake gently.  Avoid locking of brakes on glazed ice as it will cause a loss of steering and control.  Every city block and every mile of highway may be different, depending upon sun or shade and the surface of the roadway. (Check your vehicle owner’s manual, if the vehicle has anti-lock brakes, you may apply steady pressure to the brake pedal.)
  • Maintain a safe interval between you and the car ahead of you according to the conditions of the pavement. Many needless rear-end crashes occur on icy streets because drivers forget to leave stopping space.
  • Keep your vehicle in the best possible driving condition. The lights, tires, brakes, windshield wipers, defroster, and radiator are especially important for winter driving.
  • Keep your windows clear. Don’t start driving until the windows are defrosted and clean – even if you’re only going a short distance.
  • Watch for danger or slippery spots ahead. Ice may remain on bridges even though           the rest of the road is clear. Snow and ice also stick longer in shaded areas.

To Scrape or Not to Scrape: That is the Icy Windshield Question

icy windshield11-degrees.  That’s how cold it was in Medford this morning.  The forecast says we’re in for even cooler weather this weekend.  And that begs the question:  What’s the best and quickest way to defrost a windshield?

You might be tempted to pour warm or hot water on a frozen windshield.  Don’t.  The water trick can work but you also run the very real risk of the extreme temperature change cracking the glass.  (It is okay, however, to use warm water to unstick frozen car doors.   At the other end of the spectrum, the water you pour over the windshield could also just freeze giving you an additional layer of ice to contend with.   The following are better options:

First, avoid ice/frost altogether by parking in the garage or covering your windshield with a tarp, towel, newspaper, or piece of cardboard before retiring for the night.

Second,  scrape it.  A variety of scrapers of many lengths are available at gas stations and auto supply centers across the valley (but they’re not necessary.  I know from experience that a credit card will work just as well).  When it’s way below freezing, though, some of the wimpier drivers, myself included, would prefer to spend as little time as possible out in the elements.

Third, apply a de-icer either at night to keep ice from forming, or in the morning to melt it.  Even if the ice doesn’t melt completely the de-icer will make it easier to scrape off.  You can buy a commercial formula or make your own by filling a spray bottle with rubbing alcohol and a splash of dish soap.  Just mix and spray and, voila!  No more ice!  (Note:  Some windshield wiper solutions include a de-icing agent.)  If you’re making your own formula avoid using vinegar.  It can eat away at the glass.

Fourth, invest in a remote starter.  While the most spendy option it’s by far my favorite because starting the vehicle a few minutes before leaving not only means a defrosted windshield but also a pre-heated interior!  Sweet!

Happy ice-free travels!

 Sources:  www.sheknows.com, www.theautochannel.com
Image courtesy:  http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5178/5494728365_9cf139f0f8.jpg