Safe driving techniques are important all the year round, but winter is the time when you should be hyper careful.
Getting stranded is especially unpleasant when you have plenty of holiday plans and the cold nasty weather doesn’t dispose to waiting on the roadside.
While preparing your car for a winter trip is a number-one task (and winter tyres are the number-one upgrade to consider), now we are talking about how to drive safely in the inclement weather.
Check your tyres
You should pay attention not only to the tread depth (which mustn’t be shallower than 1.6mm) but also the seasonal purpose of your tyres. Summer tyres aren’t intended for the winter driving and, therefore, cannot guarantee safety at all.
You can hit the road only on all-season or even better winter tyres, which although non-obligatory in the UK, are still very beneficial in terms of safety and trip comfort. Check the pressure before you set off and keep tyres properly inflated because cold temperatures can ‘deflate’ tyres.
Tips for safe winter driving
Scrape ice and snow from your car windows before setting off.
Not just clear a peephole on the windshield before you, but clean the whole window making sure nothing reduces visibility. You need to see the road from all sides to stay safe.
Drive smoothly and at a lower speed than you usually do.
Preventing your car from losing grip is crucial on a slippery road especially if you don’t have winter tyres for added grip.
So keep your speed down so that you can have more time to react to a dangerous situation or at least have a lesser damage.
Don’t be hard on your accelerator pedal.
Gentle accelerating will help avoid wheel spinning. You are less likely to get spinning wheels if you start in the 2nd
Brake gently to avoid locking your wheels.
If this happens, locked wheels would just make your car slide. Luckily, most new cars have the ABS (antilock braking system), so when you push the brake pedal to the floor, the system keeps slightly rotating the wheels to maintain traction.
If your vehicle doesn’t have the ABS, you can prevent the locking by applying brakes very gently and by spurts.
Keep a longer travel distance.
Beware tailgating on a slippery road and remember that your braking distance is now longer. As you shouldn’t slam on brakes, just make sure the distance your car travels at has the room for the ‘gentle’ braking.
Never multitask at the wheel.
This is not only about avoiding distractions (when you are driving, you don’t do anything else), but also about giving tasks to your vehicle. Whether you turn, brake or accelerate, do one thing at a time.
Trying to accomplish two tasks simultaneously reduces your control over your vehicle.
If you slide, turn in the direction of a slide.
This rule helps restore traction, but you should do it with your gas pedal let off. Avoid applying brakes despite your natural urge.