Winter Driving Guide[ssboost url=http://www.warrantywise.co.uk/blog/winter-driving-guide/] How to Drive Safely in Bad Weather Winter is rapidly approaching, and with it a range of weather conditions that make driving – particularly long-distance driving – far more dangerous. From snow to ice, heavy rain to fog, winter driving conditions are far from ideal in many regions. Alongside cold weather and poor visibility, winter brings with it a staggeringly high accident rate. More than 6,300 extra accidents occur during winter than in summer, making it important to be aware of how to drive in the winter conditions.
Snow, ice and heavy rain can make driving in winter dangerous for the unprepared.
How to drive in heavy rainWhile light drizzle is generally nothing to worry about, driving in heavy rain can be a scary experience. As rain builds up on the road surface, it can reduce your vehicle’s connection with the road and, in some cases, cause your car to aquaplane and slide. Image Source Heavy rain reduces the amount of friction between your car’s tyres and the surface of the road, resulting in less responsive steering – as well as the potential for your car to slide – and much less effective braking than normal. This means that objects that would rarely be a safety concern in normal conditions – trailers, buses and even the vehicle driving in front of you – need far more space and attention. Combat the negative effects of rain on visibility by switching on your headlights and making your vehicle as visible as possible. Even during the daytime, your headlights will make your vehicle more obvious and increase your forward visibility. Rain reduces your car’s stopping power, increasing the amount of time it will take for you to slow down. Reduce your speed and give the vehicle in front of you some extra space – five car lengths is a good rule of thumb – to make stopping easier.
Heavy rain driving tip: Increase your following distance & use your headlights. #drive4conditions ^kp pic.twitter.com/JQFxoPLLEB — ICBC (@icbc) November 21, 2014
How to drive in snow/ice
- Replace your summer tyres with winter tyres that have deeper treat depth. If you’re not sure if your tyres are suitable for winter driving, get them checked by an expert mechanic to ensure they’re safe
- Schedule a check-up for your vehicle to make sure the radiator, defroster, oil and brakes are capable of operating safely in winter temperatures without any performance issues
- If your car has broken down in summer (or in previous winters) make sure it has been recently serviced. Breaking down in winter, particularly in a remote location far from assistance, isn't a pleasant experience
How to drive on roads with black iceBlack ice is a thin layer of transparent ice that can form on the road surface during winter. Since it’s completely transparent, black ice is impossible to see and is one of the biggest causes of winter road accidents. When your car comes into contact with black ice at speed, the friction with the road surface that allows it to brake and turn is reduced. Instead of responding, it slides on the road and – in some cases – can slide off the road or into oncoming traffic. Black ice forms in shady areas where there isn't enough sunlight to melt snow that forms on the road. If you approach trees, slopes or other objects that cast a shadow onto the road, reduce your speed and focus carefully on the road conditions. If you come into contact with black ice and lose control of your car, don’t panic. Act calmly and carry out the following steps:
- Don’t brake or steer suddenly, as this could cause your car to lose control and slide
- Lift your foot off the accelerator to reduce your car’s speed without using the brakes
- If your car is sliding left or right, carefully turn the steering wheel in the same direction to regain control of the vehicle
- Never steer against the direction of your vehicle – this could cause your car to spin and crash