Winter Driving Tips With the Family In TowFebruary 18, 2015
Winter is arguably the least pleasant time of the year to drive. January, February and March can be icy, and the sun gets very low in the sky either side of the short days. Even short journeys can be a test of ones driving experience and skill. Here are some winter driving tips to keep you and your family safe all year round.
Understand the route and weather conditions
While driving, sophisticated navigation systems, such as provided by Tom Tom, make it easy to keep track of where you are headed. This will help you avoid the wrong turns that can so often be the cause of trouble. With visibility poor, Sat Nav devices can be an extra pair of eyes. At the very least they will reduce the stress of driving, helping you relax and focus. Do make sure you update your maps regularly.
It is a good idea to have an idea of the route as well. By previewing the route on your navigation device you are less likely to panic if you miss a direction, or if GPS goes down for any reason.
If general weather conditions are bad then keep an eye on the weather where you are heading. Sometimes it is better to find a hotel for the night while you can. When the roads go wrong it can mean hours of delays. Here are some first-hand accounts of people’s experiences around the M25, Beds, Herts and Bucks back in 2003.
Drink enough liquid
Dehydration may seem unlikely at this time of year, but research has shown that a tiny loss in body weight can lead to fatigue and a reduction in alertness. It is dangerous to be fatigued when driving in any conditions, no matter winter conditions. Therefore, you should drink water regularly as you drive. Avoid keeping the water in your boot as it may freeze, and won’t be to hand. The best place to keep it is in the passenger compartment or drinks holder. Here is more on the impact of dehydration on driving.
The body needs nourishment the most in cold weather, so you need to eat sensibly at this time. Some of the best foods to pack for driving in the snow are fruit and sandwiches. Avoid too many chocolate bars or other sugary snacks. Carry plenty of food as you could get stuck in a jam for a couple of hours. Take a break every now and then and have some food.
Reduce your average speed
While driving in snowy conditions, it is important to reduce your speed by as much as 50%. However, make sure that you go fast enough, as your car needs momentum to keep moving through the snow, and get up hills. You should normally go for a higher gear than you would in normal conditions too.
Don’t yank the controls
Smooth operation is called for to stay in control of slippery conditions. If you get nervous, you will clench hard on the steering wheel and this will lead to a loss of control. Always consciously loosen your grasp or stretch out your fingers from time to time to help prevent an excessively firm grip. Being conscious of your interaction with your automobile is half the battle.
Learn how to recover from skids
You can lock up your wheels on a slippery road if you step too hard on your brakes. If you begin to skid, you can steer the vehicle gently in the direction you intend to go without using your brakes. This is what is referred to as turning a skid. It is a skill that will come in handy as you drive through the snow. Here is a closer look at the concept of skid recovery.
Driving in the winter is tougher than driving in the summer. Therefore, you need to stop every now and then. By simply taking a 5 minute break from driving, you can greatly improve your level of alertness.
Stay in your car when stuck
If you get stuck at any point, stay warm in your vehicle and wait for assistance. However, you need to be sure your exhaust pipe is clear of any obstructions like snow and ice. Otherwise carbon monoxide could build up in your vehicle!
With these tips, you can stay safer when you drive out in the snow.