Regardless of how long you have been driving, you need to consider safety every time you get behind the wheel. Cars are dangerous and there are always hazards that you need to be aware of because any mistakes could potentially be fatal.
There are a number of driving rules that you should follow at all times, but you need to be particularly careful during the winter. When there is ice and snow on the roads, the dangers are amplified and you need to pay extra attention to what you are doing. If you are concerned about driving in the ice and snow, here are some important tips to help you stay safe:
Check the forecast before you leave:
The weather can change at any moment, and you need to be prepared for whatever may come your way, especially if you are out in the car all day. You don’t want to make the mistake of leaving the house while it’s dry, only to find that you are unprepared when it starts snowing later on in the day. Always check the forecast before you leave the house in the morning so you can allow extra time if it’s likely to be wet or icy. You may also want to change your route and go on safer roads when the weather is particularly bad.
Keep your tires in good condition:
Your tires are among the most important safety features on your car, so it’s vital that you make sure they are in good condition, especially during the winter. Make sure that you check the tread on your tires on a regular basis and replace them when necessary. Even if you have a big 4×4 and you think that you can handle any condition, it’s still vital that you keep the wheels in top shape. Make sure to invest in new 4×4 rims and tires when you need them. When you are buying new tires, look for ones with a high silica content because they provide more grip. You can get specific winter tires, which have a shorter stopping distance, so it may be worth investing in a set.
Check your visibility:
When the weather is cold, your windows will get covered in ice, making it impossible to see. Visibility is vital to your safety on the road, so make sure that your windows are completely clear. Scraping a small gap that you can look out of is not enough so make sure that you clear the windows properly. This means that you will need to leave yourself enough time in the mornings, so plan ahead. You should also check that your window wipers are working correctly so you don’t lose visibility in heavy rain or snow.
If you are driving at night, make sure that you check your lights too. You can’t always tell right away if a light is out while you are driving. It’s best to be safe and quickly check them before you leave the house at night.
Pack a winter breakdown kit:
Breakdowns are never good, but if you get stranded in the middle of winter, you could find yourself in a very difficult situation. That’s why it’s important to bring a winter breakdown kit so you can stay safe and get somebody to help you out. A snow shovel, scraper, and some de-icer will help you stop the car from freezing over or getting stuck in the snow. You should pack a flash light, as well, so you can see what you are doing if you get stranded at night.
Keeping everybody warm while you wait for the breakdown recovery van to show up is important too. It’s worth packing a few blankets in the car and maybe even a thermos with some hot drinks. Make sure that you pack a car charger for your phone so you can still call for help if your battery runs out. But if you get stuck somewhere without a phone signal, you might be forced to walk a while to find help. In this case, it’s a good idea to have some snow boots to change into.
A reflective sign will help other cars spot you if you get stuck at the side of the road. This improves safety and encourages people to stop and give you a hand. This winter breakdown kit can get you out of some sticky situations if you break down in the middle of nowhere while the weather is bad.
Adjust your driving:
You need to adjust the way that you drive to stay safe in the bad weather. Slowing down is the most obvious change to make because your stopping distance will be much greater when roads are wet and icy. It’s also much easier to lose control of the car, so you should always reduce your overall speed when driving in the winter.
Using higher gears is important when driving on ice. Setting off in a higher gear will help you to avoid wheel spin and sticking to a higher gear generally will give you more grip. Always accelerate slowly so you maintain control of the car at all times.
When approaching a bend, always brake gently before and take the turn carefully to avoid skidding. If you do feel the car skidding, it’s important that you don’t panic and slam the brakes on. Instead, you need to turn in the direction that the car is skidding and keep off the brakes as much as possible.
If you adjust your driving and slow down, you will be much safer. It will take you longer to get places, so leave with plenty of time to avoid rushing and putting yourself in dangerous situations.
The risks are much greater when driving in bad weather, so it’s vital that you change your approach. Make sure that you prepare your car properly and pack a winter breakdown kit. You also need to cut your speed and take your time to keep yourself and those around you safe.
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