Even those who love driving are often loathe to pull their cars off the drive and try and navigate a road that closely resembles an ice rink. The fact remains that whatever the weather, there are times when we have to venture out and drive in wintry conditions, be it the school run, commuting to and from work or even the essential grocery shop. By following a few tips and hints you can ensure you stay safe while driving in the winter.
The biggest problem with winter driving conditions is that they are so unpredictable, but most of the techniques you need to apply when driving in this environment is pure common sense. Things such as keeping your speed as low as is practically possible, increase the distance between yourself and other cars to the max and never try to brake on a corner.
Your antifreeze and washer fluids should never be allowed to run down and you should always be prepared for times when you have to under or over steer, and know how to correct it. Avoidance braking techniques or ABS are more likely to come into play during winter than at any other time of year, so be prepared to use these as and when needed. Safety driving techniques will get you a lot further a lot faster when driving in the winter.
Making the most of the traction available is a key element to winter driving as when the traction is buried under ice it can lead to wheel spins when you accelerate, wheels locking when braking and the car sliding to the side when you corner. Try to stick to main roads that have been treated as the likes of rock salt prevents crashes by giving traction on a surface that otherwise would be sheer ice.
The tips for driving in the winter start from the minute you get into your car and once you have started the car you should pull away slowly and progressively to get an idea of the surface as you can only really tell once driving how good, or bad, the traction is. Aggressive acceleration in slippery conditions will invariably break any traction that does exist and you don’t want to start the day by crashing into your neighbour’s car.
Keep the revs as low as possible in order to maximise whatever grip you have and you will get the best results from keeping a constant, but gentle, throttle. Change up gears sooner rather than later and pull away in second rather than first, and any subsequent changes should be kept as smooth as possible to prevent any spinning.
There are far too many road accidents in poor conditions that result in fatalities, and more often that not this is due to a driver being as reckless as they are in perfect conditions and paying the ultimate price for not taking heed of the any of the above tips, and also leaving their common sense at home when they got into the car for that last journey.