As winter approaches, it’s important that you familiarise yourself with the dos and don’ts of winter driving. It’s often tempting to increase your speed, just a little, in order to get home quicker when it’s dark and depressing outside. However, it’s essential that you don’t do anything that puts you, your passengers, pedestrians or other drivers at risk.
Staying safe on the road means brushing up on your winter driving knowledge. It also means knowing how to separate fact from fiction when it comes to hearing or reading things that other drivers claim to be true.
Pouring Hot Water on Your Windscreen Will Clear the Ice Quicker Than Anything Else
Nobody likes rushing out to their car in the morning, when it’s dark and cold, to find that there is lots of ice stopping them from going anywhere until it’s been removed.
Some people claim that just “throwing boiling water” over it will make it clear quicker, but this is definitely something that you SHOULDN’T do. The extreme change in temperature could result in your windscreen breaking – you won’t be going anywhere then.
Use de-icer and an ice scraper to remove all ice from your windows.
Put Your Car in Neutral to Control it if You Start Skidding or Sliding on Ice
For some reason, a lot of people believe that the best way to control your car when it’s slipping on ice, is to just pop it in “neutral.” Unsurprisingly, this won’t actually do anything.
If your car starts to slide on ice, you need to use your gas pedal. Don’t panic, don’t hit your brakes and definitely don’t put it in neutral and hope for the best.
You need to ease off the gas and move the wheel in the direction of where your car is sliding in.
Also; don’t drive too quickly on ice to begin with!
You Need to Warm up Your Car Before Driving Anywhere
Warming up your car to ensure it performs better in the cold weather might seem like a good idea, but it’s not necessary. Your car is perfectly capable of dealing with the cold weather and will warm up quickly as soon as you start driving.
However, if you’re doing it to keep yourself from freezing to death in the early morning, then that’s perfectly reasonable.
Fog Lights Should be Used Whenever There is Snow, Rain or Fog
Don’t be tempted to stick your fog lights on at the first sign of heavy rain, snow or even fog itself. It’s recommended that they should only be utilised when visibility becomes incredibly poor and therefore dangerous to drive without them.
They are designed to be very bright, which can take other drivers by surprise and cause accidents. It’s better to stick to standard headlights unless you really think you’re in trouble.
Under-Inflated Tyres Will Give Your Car More Traction in Winter
A lot of people mistakenly believe that it’s better to drive with under inflated tyres in winter because it will allow them to gain more traction. Unfortunately, all this serves to do is unbalance your car and make it difficult to turn in the directions that you want it to. It can also damage your tyres, making it dangerous to be out on the road.
You Don’t Need to Invest in Winter Tyres
Winter tyres are a fantastic addition to your car during the colder months. Once the temperature dips below 6oC, winter tyres are much more efficient than those used during the summer or those that are “all weather.” They tend to be made from a different type of rubber which is designed to work more effectively in cold weather! It also gives you a better grip – perfect for driving in the rain!
Disconnect Your Battery After Every Journey to Protect It from the Cold Weather
It’s tempting to disconnect your car battery at the end of every day, to protect it from getting damaged from the cold. However, you’re actually causing more problems than fixing them. You lose alarm power and reset all dashboard and electronical features – and it still doesn’t prolong the life of the battery!
Putting Vinegar on Your Wiper Blades in Winter Will Make Them Last Longer
False! We’re not really sure where this myth came from but there isn’t any truth behind it. Coating your wipers in vinegar isn’t going to make them last any longer. If your wipers are under performing, it’s probably a good time to get them replaced.
4x4s are Invincible in the Snow
You’ve probably heard this one lots of times. For some reason, a lot of people believe that a 4×4 is the perfect car to have during the winter. However, if you ask anyone who actually drives one, they will tell you that this isn’t true.
Whilst they do give you better grip than a standard car, they actually take longer to stop in ice and snow. It’s important that you leave plenty of space between you and the car in front!
Drop Gears When the Roads Are Icy
Do you need to lower your gear when driving on a slippery road? The answer might surprise you. When you drive in a lower gear, extra torque at the wheel can actually result in the tyres spinning out of control. By using a higher gear, you can prevent this from happening.
A lower gear should be used when driving down a hill in icy conditions, but when driving on a standard level road, it’s best to stay in the gear you normally would.
Don’t let the winter get the better of you this year – keep yourself safe and alert when on the road.
This also applies when filling up your car, with more people making mistakes in winter than any other time of the year. If you do find that you’ve put the wrong fuel in your car by mistake, please don’t hesitate to contact us today. Give us a call on 0800 634 9827 or drop us a line on Facebook or Twitter!