When we think of winter, it’s easy to picture the ground glittered with snow and frost, the festive season, fun in the snow with the kids and wrapping up warm with a cup of hot chocolate. Bliss. However, if you’re a motorist, there is a different side to winter. And it’s incredibly frustrating, debilitating and dangerous. The winter months create some of the most dangerous road conditions imaginable, which can make a simple work commute life-threatening. Rain, sleet, snow, ice, poor visibility and other conditions all make driving in winter incredibly difficult.
So, what are your options? How can you keep yourself and your car safe in the winter months? Read on for some simple winter car safety advice.
If the weather is particularly bad, ask yourself if you need to travel. Of course, you may need to get to work, but is it really worth the risk? You could always wait until the weather improves before you attempt to drive to the office. But always use your best judgment and don’t travel unless it’s absolutely necessary.
When you’re already late for work it’s tempting to put your foot down and speed up. However, you need to slow down and drive to the conditions around you. When driving on snow and ice, you’re much more likely to slip and skid, so reducing your speed is crucial. Don’t worry about other impatient drivers; it’s better to get to your destination late, then not at all.
Invest in an emergency car kit
If you find yourself stranded or stuck in traffic for hours you’re going to get cold, hungry and thirsty. And if you’re stranded in your car without the relevant supplies during a winter storm you could be putting your life at risk. Make sure you have an emergency car kit at your disposal. Consider storing the following:
- A first aid kit
- A torch with extra batteries (or a wind up one)
- Blankets and extra clothing
- Dry food such as cereal bars, crackers, crisps etc
- Bottled water
- De-icer/ice scraper
- Jump cables
Check your tires
Make sure that your tires are properly inflated, otherwise, they will struggle to get traction in the snow, and you may become stuck.
Keep your fuel tank half full
We all understand the inconvenience of getting fuel. However, during the winter months, keeping your car’s fuel tank at least half full will stop you becoming stranded or running out of fuel whilst you’re stuck in slow-moving traffic and miles away from a gas station.
Again, it’s tempting to close the gap between yourself and the car in front. Especially if you’re frustrated at the speed the traffic is moving at. However, you should avoid tailgating and keep a greater distance between you and the car in front. That way if you suddenly start to skid or the car in front abruptly stops, you’re less likely to go into the back of them, be smart on the road and be patient!