Driving safely in winter weather

Driving safely in winter weather 1 2

If there is one thing that is essential during the winter months, it’s antifreeze. If your car overheats while driving it’s probably because the water in the radiator has frozen over. Using antifreeze lowers the freezing point and means your radiator will run much more smoothly this winter. Use a 50/50 mix of antifreeze and distilled water.

With dark mornings and even darker evenings, good visibility is crucial. You must use your headlights and fog light if visibility is less then 100 metres (328 feet). Before setting off, make sure your bulbs are working and the lights are clear of dirt and snow. Clean your lights after every journey and keep the licence plates visible.

Low winter sun can easily dazzle road users, so it’s important to be prepared. Keep the windscreen clean both inside and out. Scratches and chips in the windscreen can make the dazzling effect even worse.

Be sure to check your windscreen wipers and replace if needed. When you park, never leave the wipers actually on the windscreen as they could freeze and get stuck. Windscreen washer fluid may also need topping up with a suitable alternative, as ordinary water is likely to freeze.

It’s always important to take care of your tyres, whatever time of year it is and winter is no exception. The AA recommends at least 3mm of tread for winter motoring, and certainly no less than 2mm. Do not deflate your tyre pressure for better grip: it does not work and will reduce stability. Chains on your car are rarely needed unless you live in a particularly isolated area, and remember to check for external damage on the tyres, such as cuts and scratches.

It’s not just the car that needs to prepare for the cold: make sure you are winter ready, too! Before you set off, add at least ten minutes to your journey time in order to prepare your car. Remember to take a shovel with you as well as a pair of wellies and a warm jumper.

Stopping distances can be up to ten times higher then normal in icy conditions, so leave plenty of room between you and the car in front. Your journey time will likely be longer, so leave earlier then you normally would, plan your journey thoroughly and have an alternative route planned just in case.

Clear any snow off your shoes, as pedals can become slippery. If steering suddenly feels very light you are most likely driving on ice. Gentle manoeuvres are the key as is avoiding harsh accelerating and breaking. If you do start to lose control, always steer into the direction of the skid and ease off the accelerator. Use lower gears as this will give you better traction and be especially careful when travelling on rarely-used roads, as they are less likely to be cleared.

Happy, safe driving!

Driving safely in winter weather 1 2

Leave a Reply

Comments are closed.

Register an Account