It’s one of our most popular posts at this time of the year ‘Is your car ready for winter’ includes our top three advisories for car owners on how to prepare their car for the cold weather.
Getting your car winter ready is one thing though, adjusting your driving to the adverse weather conditions quite another!
So, here’s our top ten tips to make your driving fit for winter:
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- Think much of it – don’t make the mistake of not thinking much of it and going about driving in the snow as business as usual. Slippery and icy roads are the most dangerous and driving on them is NOT business as usual – even with the best prepared and equipped car.
- Clear your car of snow – avoid blocked windscreens and headlights at all times by clearing the snow off your car before going anywhere in it. Not just the windscreen, but the bonnet, headlights, roof and ALL! A clear vision whilst driving is a must at all times of course, but even more so in adverse weather and road conditions.
- Turn your headlights ON – visibility during the darker months is generally often reduced, and in the snow and resulting slush on the roads can be even more so impacted. Note that turning on your headlights is not so much for you to see rather than for you to be seen! So please clear the snow of your headlights AND switch them on!
- Reduce your speed – using the brakes on snow covered or icy roads can be extremely hazardous due to loss of traction and wheels not gripping properly. And yes, in very severe conditions not even your winter tyres or four-wheel drive will be able to help you control your slipping vehicle.
- Increase the distance in front of you – braking on wet and wintry roads really can be a tricky undertaking (see point above) and the distance it takes will be up to 10 times more! So, in addition to reducing your speed generally, you are well advised to leave a bigger than normal gap to the car in front of you.
- Avoid harsh braking – braking is obviously a necessity, but the loss of traction on slippery roads is a hazard to be taken very seriously. So, reducing your speed, leaving a good distance to what’s in front of you and taking your foot off the gas in plenty of time will all help you stay in control of your car – rather than the other way round!
- Avoid revving or accelerating too quickly – if you’re stuck in a rut and try to power out of it by revving the engine, it will only get the wheels spinning. The friction will create heat and the rut will only get worse. Instead move the car slowly backwards and forwards, or if this doesn’t help, you may need to get some help giving the car a push.
- Avoid stopping uphill – unless the road behind you is completely free of cars (unlikely!) and the visibility crystal clear (also less likely in winter) so that you can roll backwards if need be, avoid stopping uphill in wintry conditions at all costs as powering up won’t get your car moving anywhere (see previous point). If you are going at reduced speed and keeping your distance (as per previous points) this won’t happen to you. Extra tip: all modern cars today have a built-in intelligence system that if you raise the clutch slowly – whilst in first gear – increases the revs, meaning that the engine will pull away without the need to touch the accelerator!
- Plan your journey – as mentioned earlier, driving in wintry conditions is not business as usual, so don’t consider your journey to be ‘normal’ either. Check the traffic news along your whole journey, listen out for emergency services, check the weather forecast and most of all, allow plenty of extra time.
- Prepare your car – our three most preached about essentials to get your car winter ready are a healthy engine, clear vision and roadworthy tyres! For more advice on how to prepare you car for the cold, read our post ‘Is your car ready for winter’. Or, to book it in for a winter health check and service, contact us today!