Winter driving brings with it a range of dangers. Staying safe during while driving during winter requires one to stay alert and stay in control at all times. The same speeds are not possible and there is a range of security precautions to keep in mind to minimize danger. Driving in the snow is challenging even for those who are completely familiar with frigid temperatures. We’ve compiled the ultimate guide to safe winter driving so that you, your family & your friends are never at risk.
Winter Driving Tips
Keep these safe winter driving tips in mind and you’ll handle the snowy conditions and icy roads much better.
- Reduce Your Average Driving Speed
- Refrain from Using Your Parking Brake
- Avoid skids by retaining traction through careful acceleration and deceleration
- Stopping should be avoided as part as possible e.g. slow to enough to keep rolling through a light change
- Rapidly pump non-ABS brake with a light action to stop without sliding on ice
- Don’t give extra gas on hills – it’ll make your wheels spin
- Don’t Drive Fatigued
- Maintain a safe following distance of eight seconds
- Practice smooth starts throughout the whole year
- Steer smoothly with no fast nor sudden movements
- Plan lane changes well-before performing them
- When driving at a higher speed, keep your vehicle in a higher gear
Winter Safety Checks
Here’s a selection of winter safety checks that you should consider to guarantee maximum safety. Follow these guidelines and you’re guaranteed peace of mind and a safe trip.
Prepare Your Tires for Winter Driving
Traction is of the utmost importance to winter driving. Make sure that your tire pressure is correct as well. In areas receiving light to moderate snowfall, fit all-season M+S rated tires. For heavier snowfall, specifically designed tires for use in snow is a far better option. Tire chains and autosocks give the best traction for extreme ice and snow and should be considered by anyone driving in the winter on a daily basis.
Check Coolant & Fluid Levels
Make sure that you’ve filled your cooling system with enough antifreeze. Keep the coolant fresh by changing it regularly. The blend of coolant and water also needs to be correct. Either get a workshop to check or get your own anti-freeze tester. It’ll also test your battery. It’s also a good idea to check the whole coolant system for leaks every now and then.
Perform Battery & Electrical Precautions
If there is ever going to be a time that an aging battery will fail, it is during winter. Make sure to test your battery and in really harsh conditions give it a trick charge overnight regularly. Keep your battery water topped up and turn off all non-essential electrical features before starting your engine. Keep your lights and wipers off while starting your car.
Test All Your Lights
Working lights is exceedingly important for winter driving. You need to be clearly visible to others. Test your headlights and make sure that both the upper and lower beams are working properly. Your stop, tail, and clearance lights need to be checked before each trip, as well as your directional indicators.
Treat Your Windshield
Your windscreen will most likely end up very dirty very quickly during the winter. This is especially true for wet roads which have been recently gritted. Make certain that your windscreen is free from chips and cracks before the cold weather hits. Clean the inside and the outside of your windows before heading out. Keep a microfiber cleaning cloth inside the car and consider buying an anti-ice treatment for your windscreen. It makes it much easier to see during frigid weather.
Check for Wiper Damage
It’s generally a good idea to replace your windshield wipers towards the end of autumn. Damaged windscreen wiper blades will fail when winter hits. As the cold creeps in and temperatures really begin to drop, take care to prevent ripping your wipers off your frozen windscreen. A window scraper is essential to getting them loose. Apply full fan heat to your windscreen and gently scrape your wipers loose before using them.
Maintain a Half-Full Tank
Always keep your fuel tank at least half full. This will stop the moist air within your tank from freezing. Once there is too much moist air frozen within the fuel line, your car won’t start. Do your best to keep your vehicle topped up with fuel as much as possible.
Full Exhaust System Check-Up
Your exhaust system needs to be free from leaks and blockages. As the winter season hits, have a workshop or mechanic check the entire system for defects. As an odorless gas, carbon monoxide is hard to recognize. It can kill you if your car happens to get stuck in the snow. Rather make sure that your exhaust is working perfectly.
Consider an Autumn Service
Winter brings about countless breakdowns due to nothing other than a lack of proper maintenance. There are a few things which will bring out issues in your vehicle as quickly as the onset of very cold weather. Consider a full vehicle service towards the end of Autumn so that your car is in tip-top condition before winter hits.
Prepare for a Trip in Cold Weather
Before you leave the house, pack warm clothing, a hat, good waterproof ski gloves, and a jacket. The last thing you need is to be unprotected against the frigid cold in the case of a breakdown. It’s also a good idea to pack some long-lasting snacks and a few bottles of clean water. You never know when you’ll need the supplies. Winter can be unpredictable and the electrical system is often the first to fail, leaving you cold & hungry.
Keep an Emergency Kit in Your Car
Every car needs a comprehensive car emergency kit. Your kit must remain in the car at all times and carry everything that you could need to handle anything winter can throw at you. From emergency tools to medical supplies, make sure that you’re stocked and ready. Take a look through our guide to make sure that your kit has got everything needed to handle any emergency. Aootek Upgraded also have a fantastic 268-piece survival kit with first aid supplies available on Amazon which is perfect for your car.
Stay Calm – Stay Safe
Make sure that your vehicle is running, keep an emergency kit on hand, and remember to keep your wits about you. Common sense and a calm, relaxed attitude on the road drastically reduce your chances of ending up in a winter accident. If you maintain a safe following distance and make sure to hold traction through changing speed smoothly, you’ll seldom run into any problems.