Top 10 Winter Driving Tips
Winter driving is perilous at the best of times but the last few years have seen some truly shocking winter weather hit Ireland and the UK and this year seems unlikely to be any different. With this in mind, here are our top 10 tips for keeping safe on the road this winter season.
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Safe Travels – Top 10 Winter Driving Tips
- Distance – Ideally, when road conditions are icy and uncertain you should be leaving at least a 10-second gap between your car and the car in front. With icy conditions, your brakes are not going to be anywhere near as effective so distance really is the best strategy.
Yorkshire Dales in Winter Fog photo Illiya Vjestica
- Higher Gears – The higher the gear you’re in, the more control you’ll have over your car. This can be crucial if you hit some black ice and start spinning out. If you’re struggling to pull away in first gear, meanwhile, try shifting to second.
- Lights and Heating – The days are not only getting colder but shorter too, with pitch black now descending by around 5pm. That means you should be in full control of your lights as you’ll be using them a lot more. Check that they all work and that your heat controls are also in working order in case you need to defrost the car before setting off.
- Change Tyres – Winter tyres are engineered to have better grip and be less prone to freezing up in cold weather. You might not need winter tyres if your tread depth is deep enough (3mm) but you should check they are full of air at the very least.
Tyre photo by Timothy Eberly
- Sort Insurance – You are significantly more likely to have an accident during the winter months so sort out that insurance now whether it’s fully comprehensive or contract hire gap insurance.
- Avoid Black Ice – There is nothing more terrifying than skidding on black ice as it can prove potentially deadly. So take it slow and watch the road for the signs.
- Recovery – Know how to recover from a skid. The worst thing you can do if it happens is panic. Keep both hands on the wheel, avoid braking and steer into the skid. It might seem counterintuitive but it works. Trust us.
- It’s Not Just Ice and Snow – Winter also means plenty of rain, wind and fog so don’t just think about driving in icy conditions, think about driving in wet, windy and foggy conditions too and prepare accordingly.
Gap of Dunloe, Killarney photo by Aranka Sinnema
- Be Prepared – Carry a breakdown kit on you at all times in the glovebox and keep your fuel topped up more than you would usually, as our cars will be working harder in this weather.
- Take your Time – Above all else just take your time and try not to rush. There is nowhere you need to be so urgently that you should risk your life doing so. Take a deep breath, consider the other drivers on the road and always set off earlier than you would in the spring or summer.
Further Reading: Buying Your Teen’s First Car – 5 Things to Consider
PIN: Safe Travels – Top 10 Winter Driving Tips