When the hail, snow, ice and subzero temperatures start to make themselves known, it can be tricky to drive safely without encountering countless different risks and dangers along the way. Even the shortest of trips can become particularly treacherous, and it’s important that you can take the time to adapt your driving to make sure you stay out of harm’s way.
Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be difficult to learn how to drive safely during winter. This guide contains a range of effective steps that you can follow to make sure you can stay out of danger when the snow hits, and it couldn’t be easier to reduce the risks on the road when you know how.
So, what are you waiting for? Read on to discover more.
Stay Well Below The Speed Limit
One of the most important steps that you must follow if you want to drive without risk during the winter is to stay well below the speed limit. When the ground is icy or covered with snow, it’s going to be much harder for you to keep control of your vehicle. In turn, this means that you’re going to need to have more time and space to react in a dangerous situation – something you won’t have if you’re speeding down the street at full pelt.
It’s always recommended that you take things slow and steady when the road becomes treacherous, as this way you will have enough time to try and come to a stop rather than falling victim to a collision. A car could come slipping and sliding right in your path from the other side of the road, and you’ll only be able to stop before you reach it if you aren’t traveling at a high speed!
In order to make sure you’re driving at the right speed, picture a bowl of water in your lap. If you’re driving in a way that would cause the water to slosh around and cover the seat, then you’re driving too fast. You can do this with a real bowl of water if you aren’t bothered about splashes, as it’s actually a surprisingly effective way to keep your driving under control during the winter.
Adapt Your Car To Suit The Conditions
It’s fair to say the average vehicle isn’t best suited for driving in winter conditions, but there are certainly adaptations that can be made to ensure you can drive with greater confidence. You should always endeavour to make these adaptations, as not only will they provide you with increased peace of mind, you’ll also likely be markedly safer thanks to your improvements.
Start off by ensuring your wiper blades have the stamina and strength to handle a snow storm, as being left with poor visibility on a busy road in bad conditions could prove extremely dangerous. Fill up your antifreeze so that your car isn’t likely to seize up, and keep a windscreen scraper or other similar contraption in your car that you can use to clean your windscreen and windows when they get covered in ice. Make sure that you have at least one spare tyre in your car, as falling victim to a flat tyre will likely leave you stranded for several hours.
For extra grip, consider investing in some chain tyre covers that you can attach to your tyres to gain more traction on snow and ice. These can be particularly useful when you’re attempting to navigate back roads and country lanes that haven’t been covered in grit, as you’ll be able to stay in control rather than slipping and sliding from one side to another.
Pack An Emergency Kit
If the worst were to happen and you find yourself having crashed or experience another similar scenario, then would you be able to stick it out until help came to assist you? You need to pack an emergency kit if you want to stand any chance of staying safe and warm while you wait for a tow truck or mechanic, especially if you have taken any of the aforementioned back roads or country lanes and subsequently can’t leave your car to find shelter elsewhere.
A good emergency kit should contain a variety of different tools and items. First off, think about safety. Having a couple of torches will be of benefit, as it gets dark ridiculously early in the winter and you may be left in pitch blackness. It’s also a good idea to include a tool used to smash glass, as you can utilise this to break through a window in an emergency situation.
You should also include items that can be used to keep you warm and healthy. Packing several thick blankets or some winter coats in the boot of your car could end up being a lifesaver if you find yourself in a car accident during the winter, as you may be unable to use your car battery and therefore use the heating. Packing a basic first aid kit is another good idea to make the most of when you’re driving through icy conditions, as you can expect a variety of scrapes and scratches from even a mild collision. Treating them sooner rather than later can help to prevent infection.
Keep Someone Updated When You Travel
Last but by no means least, it’s always recommended that you keep someone updated of your intended route when you’re going to travel during the winter. When you let a family member or friend know that you’re headed on a trip in the car through icy conditions, then they can raise the alarm if you don’t reach your destination around the anticipated time.
You could encounter a whole host of situations that may leave you unable to call for help, so having someone in the loop who knows what route you took will make finding you far easier. This might increase your chances of survival more than you could ever imagine.
Good luck and stay safe while you drive this winter!