Winter Driving Tips
Winter Driving Tips
To say that winter is rough on drivers is an understatement. The cold can wreak havoc on a good battery, snow can get in the way, and black ice is a danger we always have to be aware of. For that reason, we’re sharing a series of winter driving tips to ensure that you protect yourself, your passengers, and your motor on the most dangerous of driving seasons.
Look at the weather forecast
You’re going to want to know what you’re driving into, especially if you’re going on a relatively long journey. Not only can you check the weather for the next few hours, but you should check road conditions to see reports of snow or icy roads. Some journeys aren’t worth risking, and even if you do need to make it, you can at least allow more time for the journey so you can drive more safely.
Don’t leave in a rush
One good reason to set more time and leave earlier is that you’re not going to be as worried about arriving late to your destination, meaning you can lower your speed and offer more distance to other vehicles on the road. Keep it a little slower than usual, as snow and ice can make brakes less responsive, meaning you need more time to come to a stop.
Ensure the best possible visibility
You aren’t able to react as quickly, so you must be able to see and respond sooner to any changes in traffic and any risks. For that reason, take the time to clean both the inside and outside of your windshields before driving. If there’s any snow on the bonnet or roof, clean it off, as it can shift and get in your way while driving. Check your lights, including your high-beams and clean them to stop them from dulling, too.
Accelerate and decelerate gently
When you’re uncertain of the road conditions, you should avoid speeding up or coming to a stop too hastily. The more quickly you adjust your speed, the easier it is for you to lose control on ice. Avoid skids by applying changes in momentum gently. It’s also better for your fuel efficiency.
Know how to handle a skid
Careful as you may be, there is the likelihood that you’re going to lose control for a moment and end up in a skid. Take your feet off the pedals, don’t break, and don’t accelerate. Press the clutch to cut the power. For most cars, if you’re skidding on the front tyres, then turning into the skid is recommended. However, if you have ESC systems, keep steering normally as it will brake the inside rear tyre for you.
Avoid stopping where possible
If you stop in winter, the chances that your car won’t start up again without assistance are higher than ever. Furthermore, because of the increased amount of time it takes to accelerate and decelerate, stopping fully can leave you vulnerable on the road. Where possible, slow down enough to keep rolling until you can get going again, such as at traffic light changes.
Handle hills with care
Do not power up hills, as it can make your wheels spin. Instead, try to get inertia behind you before reaching the hill and make sure to start reducing speed as you reach the top. Whatever you do, don’t stop when you’re making your way up a hill. Keep it steady and use your inertia to avoid rolling back down.
Equip yourself with the right kind of tyres
If the road conditions are affected by winter weather, then you should make sure that you have the right tyres to deal with it. Snow tires with a tread of at least 3mm will offer the kind of grip needed to make sure you don’t get stuck while providing the traction that stops you from sliding too easily on ice. Make sure that your tyres are fully inflated to get the grip on the road that you need for the journey, too.
Take an emergency kit with you
You’re never likely to be too far away from a breakdown recovery service, but the risk of breaking down is greater in winter than any other time of year. An emergency kit can contain blankets and high-vis clothes to keep you warm and safe, as well as a torch, shovel, jump cables, and de-icing tools to help you get back on the road.
With the tips above, you can be more aware of the risks of driving in winter weather and make sure you and your car are equipped with what you need to face those icy, snowy roads.