Driving during the winter can be tough. With snow falling, moisture freezing, and fog rolling in across the roads, you risk anything from a loss of control to a lack of visibility. Here are just five tips to keep in mind for safer driving during the harshest months of winter.
- Get the Right Tyres
If you’re going to be driving across snowy roads that haven’t received the attention of a gritting truck, make sure you add winter tyres. Be advised that ‘all-weather’ tyres are a bit misleading; they lack the deeper tread needed for dealing with the worst that winter can throw at us, so they aren’t a substitute for proper winter tyres.
- Check the Car Before Driving
Clear all the car’s windows, plus the exterior mirrors, to ensure full visibility, then remove most of the snow from the rest of the body; you don’t want it coming off when you brake or accelerate. Lift the wipers to check they aren’t stuck, and knock snow off your footwear to prevent your feet sliding on the pedals. You should also check that the exhaust is free of snow and ice. Once you get inside, ensure the windows are demisted before setting off.
- Bring Some Essentials
If you’re going to be heading out on long journeys, it’s well worth bringing a blanket to keep yourself cold if the car should break down. Throw some window cleaner and kitchen roll in too to make sure you can quickly clean the windows.
- Don’t Rush Your Journey
When the roads are slippery, it will take longer to stop, so proceed at a reduced speed. You should also accelerate, brake, and steer as gently as possible to avoid unsettling the car, remembering to leave longer distances between yourself and the car ahead.
- Know How to Remain in Control
Everyone fears losing control of their vehicle when the weather turns wintery. Follow these best practices to make sure you stay in command when faced with common control issues:
- If the Wheels Lock While Braking: Release the pedal, then reapply. Repeat to bring your speed down.
- If You Get Stuck: Try accelerating in second gear using a minimum of revs and steering. Stay in a high gear to reduce torque once you get going.
- If Your Car Begins to Skid. Steer into the skid, keeping your eyes fixed on where you want to go.