Top 10 winter driving tips

Andrew Newbound

By: Andrew Newbound

With its breath-taking snowscapes, glistening morning frosts, and dark, dramatic skies, there’s lots to love about winter. Or so they tell me. Yet one thing many of us don’t love about the year’s coldest season, is winter driving.

If commuting during the dark mornings and even darker evenings wasn’t hazardous enough, we have to regularly navigate our way through windscreen-thumping rain storms, tackle fog as thick as fire smoke, and avoid sheets of tyre-slipping ice that lurk around chilly bends and corners. And that’s before we mention the dreaded four-letter word…

SNOW!!!

Brrrrrr! Winter driving certainly isn’t for the faint-hearted. So to help us all get through to springtime as safely as possible, we roused Stoneacre’s web-team from their hibernation to brainstorm a top 10 list of winter driving survival tips. Here’s what they came up with:

Tip 1. VISIBILITY

Before you set off, make sure you clear the windows both inside and out. Make sure the wing mirrors are clean too, giving you have full visibility.

Tip 2. FOOTWEAR

Here’s one thing that’s often overlooked – clear all snow and ice from your footwear before setting off. This way, you’ll make sure your feet don’t slide off the pedals, especially when braking.

Tip 3. WIPERS

Another one we sometimes forget about – check your car’s front and rear windscreen wipers to make sure they’re not stuck down by frost or ice. Also, clear your windscreen jets of any ice.<.P>

Tip 4. PREPARATION

Make sure your car’s boot contains a pack of winter essentials, including a blanket, portable phone charger, an extra jacket/fleece, some drinking water, energy-rich dry food such as nuts, a flapjack or chocolate bar, plus window cleaner and kitchen roll, to help you keep your windows and lights clean.

Tip 5. PLANNING

Build extra time into every journey so you don’t have to rush. Rushing makes you stressed, which limits your ability to concentrate. Remember to check traffic reports and weather forecasts ahead of longer journeys too.

Tip 6. STOPPING

This one is a potential life saver; leave longer gaps between you and the vehicle in front. In snow and ice, even rain, you can need up to 10 times (yes, TEN times) the stopping distance. So don’t be caught short.

Tip 7. BRAKING

In snow and ice, your car can behave unpredictably, especially when braking. If your wheels lock, try releasing the pedal then reapplying the brakes. This is called ‘pumping your brakes’ and should help avoid long uncontrollable slides. Keep doing it as long as needed to bring your speed down.

Tip 8. STRANDED

Finding ourselves stuck in snow or mud is something we all dread, yet it happens surprisingly often. To free yourself, put your car into second gear and try slowly accelerating away, keeping revs and steering to a minimum.

Tip 9. AUTOMATICS

If you find yourself stuck and your car is an automatic, it can help to force the car to stay in first or second gear. Alternatively, if your car has a ‘Winter’ or ‘Snow’ mode, make sure it’s engaged.

Tip 10. SKIDDING

To stop a slide turning into a spin, there’s only one proven method – steer INTO the skid. In practical terms, this means if your car begins to slide right, you need to turn right too. This makes your car turn in the same direction and helps you regain control. Also, keep your eyes locked on where you want to go, not where your car is heading. If you look at an oncoming obstacle, you’ll subconsciously steer towards it and be more likely to hit it.

Get ready for winter

Whatever make or model you drive, Stonacre can help prepare your car for winter. You’ll find a range of afforable winter service deals at every branch. Stay safe. Find your nearest Stoneacre here.