Looking for some tips for driving in winter weather? We have created a list of ways you can look after your vehicle and adapt your driving to better handle the challenges of this time of year.
Winter brings with it a host of difficulties that challenge even the most experienced drivers. With lower temperatures and heavy rainfall, we are met with sudden ice patches, flooded roads, blinding sunlight and low visibility. It’s important to stay alert and feel in control of your vehicle.
Here are a few tips for driving in winter weather:
What is Aquaplaning?
Aquaplaning occurs when your tyres lose contact with the road and float on the water. It happens mostly when driving too fast into surface water. The best way to approach a large body of water is to reduce your speed significantly and be aware that the water is often deepest close to the kerb.
What Should You Do?
If you find your vehicle aquaplaning you should avoid any sudden manoeuvres like braking or turning which can cause your car to skid out of control. Just ease off the accelerator, as your car slows down your tyres will eventually grip the road again. It’s also important to test your brakes whenever you’ve driven through surface water.
It’s also a good idea to check your tyre pressure and tread depth to make sure they have the best chance at gripping the road.
As the temperature drops suddenly, ice patches can form on the roads. It is best to reduce your speed when driving in these conditions as your stopping distance will decrease.
Using a lower gear than normal will also increase the amount of traction you have.
You should also avoid any sudden manoeuvres and perform turns slowly and smoothly. If you don’t slow down significantly before you take corners you’ll increase the risk of your wheels spinning.
If you do find your vehicle skidding, take your feet off the pedals and steer back to safety. Avoid using your brakes unless it’s impossible to steer to safety.
3. Be Prepared
45% of drivers don’t carry out the important checks on their cars during winter, and doing so, in fact, saves lives. It is worth getting a vehicle check to make sure you are prepared to handle the challenges that this time of year brings.
At Gotherington Cross we are offering a ‘FREE VEHICLE HEALTH CHECK’ worth £36 to help keep you safe this winter
• Oil Level
• Coolant Level
• Brake Fluid Level
• Powering Steering Fluid Level
• Screen Wash Level
• Tyre Tread Depth
• Tyre Pressures
• Battery test
• Brake check & Suspension Check
The sun sits lower in the sky during winter which can make it harder to see where you’re going. To reduce the impact of strong sunlight it’s best to keep your windscreen clean. Keep your screenwash topped up as wetter weather will lead to dirt being lifted off the road from other cars and onto yours.
Fog can also cause a sudden loss of visibility. Rather than breaking suddenly which could cause a collision with the vehicle behind, reduce your speed, keep your distance and use dipped fog lights.
In The Dark
As the days are shorter, a lot of us are also driving to and from the work in the dark. Check your lights on a regular basis and use your dipped headlights and full beam when appropriate. It’s best to switch on your dipped lights before it gets completely dark.
5. Wheels Lock-Up
If you have been braking heavily or you turn a corner too quickly, your wheels can lock up. When this happens your wheels won’t be able to turn and steering will feel lighter than normal. Don’t panic or make any sudden manoeuvres.
If your front wheels lock up it’s best to take your foot off the accelerator and let your steering wheel turn freely and put your vehicle into neutral. As your car slows down you can start steering again.
If your rear wheels lock up it’s advisable to take your foot off the accelerator and begin to turn your steering wheel in the direction you want your wheels to go. If your car has anti-lock brakes, begin to apply steady pressure. If not, very gently pump your standard brakes.
You should avoid driving in snow unless the journey is absolutely essential. If you do, drive at a slower speed than normal, driving smoothly and avoiding sudden manoeuvres.
If you ever find yourself stuck in the snow, avoid revving your engine. Instead, move forwards and backwards slowly in high gear. If this doesn’t work, it is best to call your breakdown company.
If you are waiting to be recovered, it’s best to keep the engine switched off. You might be tempted to use the heating to keep you warm, but this could drain the battery quickly.
We hope these tips for driving in winter weather are useful. Drive with care.