October 20, 2016 at 9:22 PM
Winter is fast approaching, and it’s time to get prepared for driving in winter. These winter driving tips are ways that you can make driving in winter a little less frustrating and as safe as possible.
- Clear the snow from the entire windscreen as well as the roof of the car. It’s easy to understand why someone would want to cut corners when clearing snow off a car. It can be grueling work. It’s freezing cold. And we’re always in a hurry to get to where we want to go. Some people try to get away with clearing off a minimum of snow. If you only clear off a small area of the windscreen, you impair your visibility which makes driving unsafe for you and for others. Snow on the roof can blow off and be dangerous for other drivers. Some UK drivers have been fined for having snow on the roof. Better safe than sorry, and take that extra time and effort to clear the snow off thoroughly.
- If driving in the snow, drive slower and give yourself more time to brake. All vehicles need extra time to brake when the roads are covered in snow or ice. A 4WD vehicle has an advantage when accelerating in snow, but drivers still need to give ample time to brake.
- Get car maintenance done before winter, and get repairs done as soon as the problems arise. While a breakdown in summer can be annoying and inconvenient, a breakdown in blizzard conditions can be life-threatening. Reduce your risk of a winter hazard by having the vehicle checked and maintained before winter weather strikes. Make sure your battery, windscreen wipers, fluids, tires, brakes, and heater are ready for winter weather.
- To correct a slide and regain control of the vehicle, always turn the wheel in the direction of the slide.
- Keep plenty of fuel in the tank. Ample petrol in the tank is important for 2 reasons. If you get stranded, you may need to rely on the fuel as your only heating source until you are rescued. Also, a low amount of fuel may freeze. By keeping the tank at least half full, you avoid having to deal with frozen fuel.
- Guard your air quality. Allowing a car to warm up in a garage with the door closed is dangerous. If the car is outside, clear the snow away from the exhaust pipe before starting the car.
- Invest in quality snow tyres. While poor tyres are a safety concern any time of year, they are especially dangerous in winter conditions. Think your summer tyres are good enough? Snow and ice weakens tyres that are not made to withstand winter weather. Play it safe and find good quality snow tyres.
- Stay safely in your vehicle if you get stranded in the snow. Tie something brightly colored to the antennae to make your car easier to spot in the snow. You may want to consider keeping something brightly colored in your car to tie to the antennae in case of an emergency. A scarf, a sock, or even a colored plastic bag can work well for this.
- Keep a snow emergency kit in your car. While you are adding a brightly colored item to signal for help, add a few other items to use in a snow emergency. This is especially important if you must travel in rural areas or for moderate to long distances. A blanket, cat litter for traction, working torch, jumper cables, flares, shovel, and a first aid kit. Some people also include bottled water and non-perishable food items like protein bars and raisins. Make sure your cell phone has plenty of power before heading out in the snow.
- Avoid oversteering and frequent, unnecessary braking when driving in the snow. Many people have a tendency to grip the wheel tighter and overcorrect their driving. Try to have a relaxed grip and keep your driving steady.
Stay safe! Ask our workshop technicians if you have any questions about preparing your car for winter weather.