Driving on today’s busy roads can be tough enough at the best of times, but when the winter weather closes in, things get even trickier. The good news is, there are simple steps you can take to help you stay safe on the highways during the chilly season, and this brief guide covers some of the most important.
If there’s one phrase that sums up a sensible approach to winter driving, it’s ‘be prepared’. When the weather’s bad, anything can happen on the roads. Therefore, one of the first things you should do before you set off in your car is check your vehicle cover. No matter how careful you are, there is a greater risk of an accident occurring when road conditions are poor, and so it’s important that you have suitable insurance in place. If you decide you need new and improved financial protection, you can turn to specialist brokers. Firms like Chill Insurance scour the market for you, taking the hassle and stress out of the process.
Another top tip is to plan your journeys carefully, sticking to major roads where possible. Also, take supplies including water, food, a torch and a charged cellphone with you on any longer journeys in case you get stranded.
Keep Your Windows Clear
Ridding your car windows of snow and ice might not be your idea of fun, but never be tempted to cut corners. Setting off with just a small hole cleared in your windscreen is a recipe for disaster. Allow an extra ten minutes at least for your journeys on really cold days. This should give you enough time to fully clear your car.
Make sure your windscreen washer fluid levels are topped up too. The grit used to keep highways free of ice gets kicked up by vehicles and it can turn even the cleanest car windows into dirt-spattered disasters within a matter of moments.
Also, beware the winter sun. Driving into the low afternoon sun at this time of year can be dangerous. With this in mind, it pays off to ensure you always have a pair of sunglasses with you just in case, and try to keep your windows free of grease and any other imperfections that can increase glare.
Take Care of Your Tyres
A good set of tyres is a must at any time of year, but during the winter it’s especially important. In chilly conditions, a minimum tread depth of 3mm is recommended. You might also benefit from switching to winter or all-season tyres, which have a higher silica content and provide better grip.
Know What’s What Behind the Wheel
As well as making sure that your car is ready for winter journeys, it’s vital that you’re prepared when you climb behind the wheel. Bear in mind that stopping distances can be as much as 10 times longer in snow and ice, so you’ll need to drive more slowly and be much more cautious when you’re on the roads.
To avoid wheel-spin when you pull away, start in second gear. Also, try to avoid stopping part way up hills in icy conditions. Meanwhile, when you’re travelling downhill, reduce your speed and stay in a low gear, leaving plenty of room between you and any vehicles in front.
It’s impossible to completely remove the risks related to winter driving. However, by following tips like these, you can boost your chances of staying safe on the roads.