Winter is that time of the year when weather conditions become unpredictable, brash and extremely dangerous, especially in regions that receive moderate to heavy snowfall
Winter Driving Tips
Winter is that time of the year when weather conditions become unpredictable, brash and extremely dangerous, especially in regions that receive moderate to heavy snowfall. Driving or riding a bike on snow can prove to be quite strenuous and it is only right to take undue caution and be prepared for treacherous roads. Winter Driving demands a little more common sense than usual.
Winter Tyres are often referred to as ‘cold-weather tyres’. They are quite different from studded tyres in that they do not have the small plastic or metal studs embedded into the rubber. Winter Tyres are made up of a soft compound that gives them the grip required to go on ice covered roads when the temperature is below 7oC. They provide really good braking and traction performance and can be recognized by a unique tread pattern with fine grooves cut into each of the tread blocks. These tread blocks are what makes riding on snow much easier than normal tyres. Winter Tyres are marked by a snowflake symbol on the side which makes them easily recognisable. It must be noted that winter tyres cannot be used during other seasons. So make sure you have your normal tyres ready before the winter comes to a close.
Extreme weather can put your car’s mechanical abilities to the ultimate test and without precaution from your end, it may succumb. However, a lot also depends on your driving skills and how well you are able to manoeuvre around tricky situations. Before you even begin your journey, there are a few things you need to do in order to be ready for what lies ahead. Preparation goes a long way in tackling freezing temperatures and frost-covered paths. The following winter driving tips will leave you fully equipped to face any kind of situation that may crop up during your snow journey:
- Windshield wipers tend to wear out or harden. Replace them if required. Also, don’t forget to replace your windshield wiper fluid with an antifreeze one.
- It is about time you cleaned, flushed out and added new antifreeze into your cooling system which generally should be done every two years.
- Cold weather can specifically target batteries. Check your batteries and the entire charging system to ensure smooth operation before you set out.
- Check for leaks from within your heater system and whether the blower and the window defroster are working perfectly well.
As mentioned earlier, driving through snow and ice require great attention to detail. The following winter safety tips are sure to come of great help:
- Make sure you accelerate and decelerate with great caution during ice driving. Step on the gas very slowly so that traction can be maintained and the vehicle doesn’t skid.
- All-wheel Drive isn’t always reliable. It works by giving drivers a false sense of security which leads them to turn too quickly when driving on ice. AWD can only boost acceleration. Apart from that, it cannot provide grip at corners or help with stopping.
- The most obvious rule when it comes to snow driving is to go as slow as possible. Functions like acceleration, stops and turns take unusually longer on snow covered roads compared to dry ones. Driving slowly gives you that extra time required to bring an action into effect.
- Finally, we arrive at the most effective and useful winter driving safety tip among all others. Antilock brakes are of profound use when it comes to Ice driving. Stamp on them long and hard and then steer.
- Try not to stop too often. Plan your journey in advance and make sure you won’t have to stop unnecessarily along the way. Stopping in the ice is much harder due to the large amount of inertia required for the task. When a traffic light looms in the distance, slow down exponentially and finally come to a halt instead of having to step on the brakes. With practise, you will get it right.