Driving can be challenging at the best of times. There are more vehicles on the road than ever before, which increases the likelihood of accidents occurring. The winter months, due to inclement weather, localized flooding, etc. require additional safety precautions.
The first place to start is with your vehicle. When was the last time you had it serviced? If you’ve noticed some odd noises or changes to function, now is the time to get it checked out. For example, that grinding sound you keep hearing could indicate an issue with the transmission. Always go to an expert such as http://www.trannyman.net/ to give you peace of mind.
Before Leaving Home
Before leaving home to embark on a long journey, check the following routinely:
- Top up wiper fluid with an antifreeze fluid
- Check brakes and fluid levels
- Check all lights, including hazard lights
- Check tyres and top up pressure if needed
- Oil level
Before setting out, ensure your emergency kit is well-stocked and functioning correctly. This should include:
- Ice scraper and de-icer
- Food such as energy bars or chocolate in case you’re stranded
- Check the wipers are in good working order
- Warm clothing and blankets
- Drinking water
- Flashlight with batteries
- Tow rope
- Spare wheel
- Basic tools
- First aid kit
- Warm shoes or boots
Check Weather Stations
If you’re a new driver or you find it stressful driving in bad weather, avoid situations that will place you out of your comfort zone. Check the weather stations such as http://www.weather.gov/ before setting out, and make alterations to your journey if necessary.
Learn How To Change A Flat Tyre
If you don’t know how to change a flat tyre, learn how to do this. Many local garages provide courses to teach you how to do this and gain confidence. If you have a flat in the middle of nowhere, the ability to change the tyre could prevent a night spent out in the freezing cold.
Snow And Ice
When driving in snowy conditions, taking common sense precautions is even more important. Plan your journey carefully so you’re familiar with your route. Leave more time, so you’re not rushing. Clear the windows fully to remove excess snow. Use your scraper and de-icer if necessary. Clear the roof at the same time. You don’t want loose snow to fall on the windshield as you’re driving.
When driving in snow, accelerate gently and use low revs. Try to reach a higher gear as quickly as possible. Leave up to ten times the normal stopping distance between you and the car in front. If you’re driving uphill, ensure you have adequate space in front of you so you can maintain your speed without having to change gear.
If your car loses its grip on the road, the important this is not to panic. Take your foot off the gas and ensure the car is pointing in the right direction.
If the road has not been gritted, take care if driving in the wheel tracks of other vehicles. Ice may not be as visible. Use fog lights when visibility is less than 100m.
Make sure you’re prepared for any eventuality this winter. Know your limits and avoid bad weather if possible. If you have to drive, take extra precautions, ensure your car is functioning properly and take an emergency kit.