Winter is the season of steaming cups of hot chocolate, staying in bed under quilted covers, and skiing trips. You also get to rug up in your favourite winter woollies while drinking the cold away with a bottle of mulled wine. However, winter is also the time for snowy, slippery roads and tricky driving situations. Driving during the cold months shouldn’t be such a torture though. Here are some tips to make winter driving safer and easier.
Do check the tyres for proper inflation
Before stepping inside the car, check the tyres and see if they’re properly inflated. Tyres that don’t have enough air in them will provide less traction, making it harder for you to stop the car when hitting the brake. Combine this with a slippery road and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.
Do slow down
Take it slow when stepping on the accelerator and brakes. When hitting the brakes, the normal stopping distance of 3 to 4 seconds should keep you from bumping into the car in front of you. During winter, however, it’s better to increase your margin of safety to 8 to 10 seconds. When making a turn, take your time so you won’t end up sliding over any ice that may have built up on the road.
Do defog the windshield and windows ASAP
A foggy windshield and windows will make it hard for you to see the road and nearby cars. But fogging up can’t be avoided, especially during cold weather, so you need to defog the windshield and windows as quickly as possible. Turn on the AC and slightly open a window to easily get rid of moisture.
Don’t stop when driving uphill or downhill
Avoid driving along a steep slope during winter if you can. But if it can’t be helped, never stop the car when going down or up a hill. Doing so will make it harder for you to control your car. You can slow down a bit when going downhill, but never completely stop your car.
Don’t drive with frosty vehicle lights
The colder months usually mean darker nights and poor road visibility. If frost is starting to build up on your car’s headlights, taillights, and signal lights, wipe them until the glass is clear and clean. Make sure there are no bits of ice or traces of frost left. You’ll need bright lights to better see the road and to properly warn other drivers if you’re stopping, making a turn, or changing directions.
Don’t underestimate those small, icy spots on the road
When driving over slippery roads, never ignore those small spots of sleek ice. You may think that you can easily manoeuvre around them, but once you accidentally drive over them, skidding becomes almost unavoidable. Be extra careful and watch out for icy patches; you don’t want to injure yourself or others because of a careless mistake.
Before heading out for a long drive during the winter months, make sure your car is equipped with extra blankets, food, and a first aid kit. Always check the battery, heater, wipers, and defroster, making sure that they’re in good shape. With enough preparation, you’ll be able to get to wherever you’re going safe and sound.
When renting a car for a winter road trip, choose the best car rental company that provides properly maintained vehicles and budget-friendly insurance. With a comprehensive insurance plan, dealing with an unfortunate accident due to bad weather becomes more manageable.