The winter weather can prove challenging to drivers, as the long dark nights and icy and snowy roads make driving conditions difficult and dangerous. Whilst it’s advisable to stay indoors if you can, it’s not always possible for a lot of people who rely on their car to get them to work and back. So, read on for tips and advice on how to drive safely when it starts to snow.
Is the journey necessary?
Firstly, ask yourself if your journey is really necessary. If it’s blizzard like conditions outside and you want to go out but don’t really need to, then you might be better off staying indoors. Or, consider the option of using public transport.
If your journey is necessary, however, then make sure you allow extra time to get to where you need to go, drive slowly and carefully and fully prepare your car before setting out. Check road conditions with your local radio before you leave the house, as well.
Clear your view
If you do need to go out, then make sure your windows and mirrors are clear from any snow and ice. De-ice frozen windows with a scraper. Use the car’s air conditioning to help demist the windows and reduce any condensation.
Don’t forget about removing snow from your number plates. If they are illegible, then you could get fined.
Make sure you remove accumulations of snow off your roof as well, as this could present a real hazard to other drivers if it falls and obscures their view.
Check that snow isn’t blocking the exhaust as it can cause dangerous fumes to escape into the car.
Check your tires
Make sure your tires are in good condition and can cope with winter driving. Ensure they are fully inflated and that the tread is at least 3mm. All season or winter tires have a high silica content in the tread, which makes them better for coping with the winter elements – so consider changing yours over.
No car owner should be without some antifreeze during the harsh months, as it can help protect your engine from getting damaged from freezing up. Always use the correct type of antifreeze for your car, and never mix different ones together.
Keep a check on your battery when the weather turns bad. Most batteries don’t last longer than five years, so get yours replaced if it’s nearing the end of its shelf life. Try not to over-run electrical systems, as they can eat away at the battery.
Always be prepared in case you end up getting stranded on the road. Make sure you have warm clothing and a blanket, water, a flask and some snacks, and your mobile phone. Let people know where you are going when you’re out and about.
Bigger roads are more likely to have been gritted, so divert for your journey if possible to make use of these roads. It stands to reason that you should never drive too fast when the roads are covered in snow, and keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you. Don’t rely on your brakes, as they might let you down if the surface is icy. Stay in a high gear that will give you better control of your vehicle and keep to a low speed when descending down a hill.
By Ben Frisby . You can find Ben on Google + for more information.