Car servicing: 9 tips for driving in the winter
As winter blankets the country in snow and ice, the roads can become treacherous for even the most experienced drivers. To ensure a safe and stress-free winter driving experience, it's crucial to be well-prepared and mindful of the unique challenges the season brings. In this blog post, we'll explore some essential winter driving tips to help you navigate the frosty roads and arrive at your destination safely.
Prepare Your Vehicle: Before winter sets in, make sure your vehicle is ready to face the cold. Check your tires for proper inflation and sufficient tread depth. Consider switching to winter tires for enhanced traction on icy roads. Ensure your brakes, battery, and lights are in optimal condition. Also, keep your windshield washer fluid reservoir filled with a winter-grade solution to prevent it from freezing. We offer a pre winter check as well as routine servicing and maintenance to help you with this.
Slow Down and Increase Following Distance: Winter weather often means reduced visibility and slippery road conditions. Adjust your driving habits accordingly by slowing down and increasing the distance between you and the vehicle in front of you. This extra space provides you with more time to react to sudden stops or maneuvers, reducing the risk of collisions on icy or snowy roads. As a general rule, stopping distances increase by 10 times their usual amount when driving on ice.
Master the Art of Gentle Maneuvers: Sudden movements that unsettle the car can be your enemy on slippery roads. Practice gentle acceleration, braking, and steering to maintain control of your vehicle. Abrupt actions increase the likelihood of skidding or losing traction, especially in adverse weather conditions. If you find yourself skidding, steer in the direction you want to go and avoid slamming on the brakes.
Stay Informed About Weather Conditions: Before hitting the road, check the weather forecast and road conditions. If severe weather is predicted, consider delaying your trip if possible. Keep an eye on traffic reports and be aware of any road closures or advisories. Staying informed allows you to plan your route strategically, avoiding potentially hazardous areas.
Carry an Emergency Kit: Be prepared for unexpected situations by keeping a well-stocked emergency kit in your vehicle. Include items such as a blanket, flashlight, extra clothing, non-perishable snacks, a first aid kit, and a shovel. Also, ensure your phone is fully charged before embarking on your journey, and consider carrying a portable phone charger.
Watch out for black ice: Black ice is a hidden danger on the road and can catch unsuspecting drivers completely unaware. Sometimes you may see a slight glimmer on the roads surface but in most instances you won't see black ice at all. If you do find yourself sliding on black ice you should not brake hard and try to keep the steering wheel straight.
Remember that summer tyres have less grip in the cold: When temperatures hit 7 degrees and below you will find that your summer tyres become less effective as the rubber becomes more rigid and loses grip. Winter tyres by comparison thrive in cold temperatures however most people run summer or year round tyres. We wrote a blog all about the pros and cons here: Car servicing: Summer, winter and all weather tyres, Southampton, Hampshire | EJ Jarvis
Prepare to jump start your car: With winter being the prime time for battery failures to surface you should be prepared to jump start your car with either a set of jump leads or a jump pack.
Know your cars drive: While most people are confident in driving their car they are not always sure on how it actually moves. Knowing if your car is front wheel, rear wheel or all wheel drive can give you an advantage in moving in the snow and ice.
Winter driving requires a unique set of skills and preparations. By following these essential tips, you can increase your safety on the roads during the colder months and decrease the likely hood of expensive repair work. Remember, it's always better to prioritise caution and arrive at your destination a bit later than risk compromising your safety. Stay vigilant, stay informed, and stay safe on winter roads.