Top tips for safe winter driving

Posted on 17 December 2015 by Tony Santos

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Driving in winter weather can be daunting. Ice, snow, mist, and fog all create less than ideal road conditions. Even for experienced drivers, these conditions can prove challenging, so you should be even more vigilant if you’re still new to driving. In the Department for Transport’s 2014 report, 251 people were seriously injured in UK road accidents involving snow or ice. In light of this, we have listed some of the best tips for safe winter driving below.

Check tyre pressure and fuel levels

Before you set off, use an accurate pressure gauge to check your tyres, sure they are inflated properly. Although you should monitor your tyre pressure all-year-round, it is particularly important to do this in winter as the air inside tyres contracts when the outside temperature plummets. You should also try to keep your fuel tank at least half full, as this will prevent your fuel line freezing up.

Travel with winter essentials

Whether you’re just popping out to the corner shop or driving across the country, you should always carry equipment to help you deal with the weather, such as de-icer, antifreeze, coolant, and a windscreen scraper. Antifreeze prevents your car’s radiator and engine from freezing/seizing, while aerosol de-icer is great for thawing ice quickly. The range of winter car accessories from Autosessive offers everything you need be prepared for the elements this winter.

Check your brakes

Make sure your brakes are working effectively. This brake guide by the AA explains how to spot problems and maintain the quality of your car brakes. It’s also important to remember that whether you have antilock brakes or not, you should use a technique called threshold breaking to stop your vehicle in wintery conditions using. This is where you keep the heel of your foot on the floor, and apply steady pressure to the brake pedal using the ball of your foot.

Drive slowly in snow

Driving takes longer on roads that are covered in snow. Don’t be too keen to get to your destination quickly, as unnecessary speed could cause you to lose control of the vehicle. Instead, allow for extra travel time by setting off a little earlier than you normally would. Make sure you accelerate and decelerate slowly, as this helps to regain traction and avoid skidding. Plus, driving in high gears helps to keep revs low, maintain traction, and reduce torque in ice and snow.

Negotiate hills correctly

In wet, icy, or snowy conditions it can be tempting to power up hills quickly. However, this can lead to a great deal of wheel-spin. You should try to gain a reasonable amount of momentum before you reach the hill, then allow this momentum to carry you up. Upon reaching the top of the hill, delicately apply your brakes and proceed down the other side of the hill cautiously and as slowly as possible.

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