How to cope with winter driving

snowdriving11

With another distinctly average summer behind us, before you know it, winter will knocking on our doors. Accompanying it will be rain, snow, sleet, and all manner of unpredictable weather conditions. With the aid of this guide, you will hopefully be well prepared for any circumstance.

  • Pack supplies
    • There’s no need to go overboard, but it’s a good idea to keep some essentials in your boot. Think about storing a blanket, torch, rope, de-icer, and maybe even a shovel for those particularly snowy conditions. It might be worth keeping a few snacks and water bottles in your glove-box just in case you do end up stranded for any length of time.
  • Prepare your car
    • We’re not all lucky enough to own a 4×4 or winter tires, so ensuring your car is in tip-top condition is a must for treacherous conditions. Check your tyres – ensure you have a minimum of 1.6mm tread across 75% of the width of the tyre. If you own tyre chains, make sure they are the right size for your car.
  • Check under the bonnet
    • The average car battery only lasts about 5 years, so consider having it replaced or serviced before the winter season. Protect your battery life by switching off any unnecessary controls.
    • Top up your windscreen washer fluid. You may also want to refill your radiator with a stronger coolant-to-water ratio to help your engine through the colder months.
  • Check your visibility
    • Partially obscured windscreens are both illegal and dangerous. Make sure you have full visibility from all glass and mirrored surfaces to ensure full safety and that you fall within the law. Do not be tempted to clear a frozen windscreen with boiling water, as it could crack the glass. Use de-icer, a scraper, and good old fashioned elbow grease. It’s also worth checking your lights as you’ll be using them much more regularly.
  • Driving in snow
    • Drive slowly as the snow can often cover damaging debris and potholes.
    • Try to use the busier sections of the road as the traffic helps to clear the surface.
    • Start and stop gently in a high gear to avoid wheel-spin.
    • If you do start to skid, steer into it and avoid using the throttle or brake.
  • Driving in ice
    • Snow driving may be difficult enough, but perhaps the real danger you face in winter is driving in icy conditions. Black ice can be prevalent and is very difficult to spot. It is best to follow the car in front at around a 7-8 second interval for optimum safety.
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