We’re approaching that time of year when driving in congested and difficult conditions becomes a daily occurrence. It’s easy to dismiss the dangers of winter driving because of course, you’ve never had an accident and quite frankly, you could teach Louis Hamilton a thing or two. But don’t forget that it’s not necessarily your driving that can cause you problems!
Our vehicle fleet partners Arnold Clark have provided us with some top tips to help make sure our customers get to work and home again safely this winter.
Tip 1: Plan your journey properly
– Check out the weather conditions where you’re going before you leave
– Listen to the radio for traffic reports and if there are delays make sure you’ve got plenty of fuel
– Keep some warm clothes, a few snacks, jump cables, a shovel and a torch in your vehicle
– If you have breakdown cover, make sure you have the phone number and policy number stored in your phone
Tip 2: Make sure your vehicle is winter ready
– Book your vehicle in for a winter service. Halfords do a free winter check
– Check your windscreen is free of cracks and you’ve got plenty of washer fluid
– Check all of your lights are working
– The cold tends to thicken oil so check your levels and make sure you’ve got the correct oil type
– Check your tyre pressure and depth. This is more important than ever in icy conditions
Tip 3: If you get caught in a blizzard
– Slow down. An obvious one, but you’ll need to break softly to avoid skidding
– Dip your headlights. Do not use full beam.
– Listen to your gut and stop. If you’re struggling to see and it feels dangerous then don’t risk it
Tip 4: If your vehicle gets stuck in the snow or on ice
– Try to free your vehicle by “rocking” it back and forth
– Keep the front wheels straight and slowly drive forward and backward as far as possible without spinning the wheels
– Accelerate gently when the tyres grip, then shift to neutral and coast as far as possible, then apply the brake and repeat this operation in the opposite direction.
Tip 5: If you’re driving on icy roads
– Always follow other cars at a safe distance. Remember that on snow or ice it takes three to twelve times as much distance to stop your car as it does on a dry road
– Avoid using cruise control
– To get moving on snow or ice, start forward as slowly as your engine will allow. If you have an automatic transmission, step down on the accelerator slowly and accelerate as smoothly as possible. If your vehicle has a clutch, let it out very slowly. If your wheels spin, start over again in second or a high gear. This allows you to accelerate more smoothly and will help keep your wheels from spinning.
– To stop your vehicle when driving on packed snow or ice, apply the brakes gently to avoid wheels locking. For sudden stops in vehicles with conventional or rear-wheel anti-lock brakes, ‘squeeze’ your brakes – don’t slam down on them!
Tip 6: In the event that your vehicle begins to skid
– Never slam your breaks on
– Keep your feet off the accelerator and brakes until you have regained the ability to steer the vehicle. Only then should you begin to apply the brakes – very carefully. Do not use them unless it is necessary.
– Turn in the direction you want the front of the car to go. If you can feel that the back of the vehicle is going to come around then start to counter-steer (steer into the skid). But don’t counter-steer so sharply that you skid again in the other direction.
Be careful out there!
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