Winter – with all its beauty and its challenges, winter driving at its best is frustrating and at worst extremely dangerous. In difficult weather it can take all your driving ability just to keep your vehicle on the road. In order to safely handle your vehicle in winter weather, you must be able to assess road conditions, predict how your vehicle will react and know what actions to take to keep it under control.
In this article we’ll be taking a look at how to properly prepare yourself and your vehicle for winter driving, helping you to stay safe on the roads during the coming colder months.
Proper preparation is a very important aspect of driving during the winter season. The following list is a compilation of our top tips for preparing to drive during wintery conditions. Exacting extreme caution in these icy conditions is vital if you want to remain safe on the roads.
· At the beginning of the winter season, check your tyres; since the tyre tread directly influences your vehicle’s traction, this is the time to replace worn tyres. In most climates, an all season radial with a good tread is acceptable. If you’re expecting deep snow fall, you may want to consider a snow tyre.
· Snow tyres and chains will give you better traction; however keep in mind a snow tyre will actually increase your stopping distance of your vehicle on black ice.
· A wide tyre is not recommended for winter travel. Throughout the season, check your tyre pressure and maintain it at the level recommended by the manufacturer. Under inflated tyres will increase the chance of the vehicle hydroplaning.
· Check all you vehicle’s lights, headlights as well as turn signals, brake and tail lights must function so other drivers are aware of your manoeuvre.
· Adjust and clean your mirrors.
· Be sure your windshield washed bottle is properly filled and the washers are working properly.
· Make sure windscreen wiper blades are in good condition, ensuring the rubber is supple and not torn in places.
· A good ice scraper and snowbrush are indispensible safety items for winter driving.
· Keep your petrol tank as full as possible, surprisingly the added weight will give your car additional traction and can also help to avoid condensation during extremely cold weather, which could freeze in fuel lines and cause stalling.
· On cold days, start your vehicle and give it a chance to warm up before you begin driving, however never let it run it in a closed garage.
· During sunny days, the glare of ice and snow can often blind drivers. Good sunglasses make it easier to see in harsh glare conditions.
· Pack an emergency kit, just in case you break down in a quiet location; include a thick blanket, thick socks and thermal underwear, a torch, some water and snacks. Remember, hypothermia can occur in temperatures as high as 50 degrees.
· Before driving in any conditions, be sure to buckle your seatbelt. Prepare yourself mentally for the challenges ahead by leaving with a clear and calm mind, considering what you would do should an emergency situation develop.
So there we have a quick and simple compilation of top tips for driving safe on wintery roads. Remember, preparing far in advance for driving in icy and snowy surfaces could save you a lot of money, or even your life!