Winter can be a difficult time for motorists. Not only is your vehicle much less likely to even start – but once it does, the driving conditions can be hell! Even when there is no snow or ice on the ground, the low temperatures in winter make for difficult driving at the best of times. However, there are some vital steps that any driver can take to ensure a smooth and pleasant journey in winter. Here are our top tips on how to drive safely in winter.
Stay Safe While Driving in Winter
The first and most important step is to prepare your vehicle for the colder months. Without necessary preparation, there is a good chance your car will suffer. There are several things you can do to ensure your car is in peak driving condition for winter. Firstly, use a decent screenwash to prevent your windscreen wipers from failing on you. You also want to make sure that your tyres are in good condition – this is, unsurprisingly, paramount. Make sure the tread is sufficient before you set out.
You might want to consider investing in some cheap winter tyres, as these are designed to be more adaptable to withstanding the cold weather. One expert tip is to remove every bit of snow from the top of your car before setting off. Otherwise, you could brake hard and cause it to fall. It might then obstruct your view or even cause you to skid by getting underneath the wheels!
Do You Need to Drive?
All the major recovery companies tend to give the same advice – only drive if necessary. It is true that this is a hugely important piece of advice. If it has been snowing heavily, you might want to ask yourself whether you need to drive. This is a good time for sorting out priorities. How important is the event you are driving to? Can it be postponed until another time? It is easy to turn a blind eye to how dangerous snow and icy conditions can be for drivers. But, unless it is absolutely necessary to travel – then don’t! There is no use taking any unnecessary risks.
Driving on Snow or Ice
There are certain, generally accepted techniques for driving on snow and ice which are proven to make it a safer experience. Accelerate gently, never suddenly, and change to a higher gear as quickly as possible without over-revving. You might find it easier to move off in second gear, so don’t panic if first gear doesn’t seem to be doing the job. It is recommended that you leave a gap between you and the vehicle in front ten times the usual size.
This is because it can take ten times as long to stop on snow or ice, compared to regular driving conditions. All aspects of driving should be done slowly and carefully. This includes steering, braking and gear changing. The fewer sudden movements, the better. It should also go without saying that you should be keeping your speed to a minimum. Staying as slow as possible massively minimises the risk of having an incident.