As the weather turns colder, and winter creeps up on us, so do more difficult driving conditions. Whether it’s fog causing poor visibility, rain and snow increasing stopping distance or even the formidable appearance of black ice – there’s any number of hazards to look out for when it comes to driving in winter.
It could be your first winter driving, or you may have been driving in adverse conditions for years – however experienced you are, we’ve put together a helpful list of tips for driving on icy roads below.
Pack The Essentials
This sounds pretty simple, but it’s easy to forget to pack the essentials before a winter drive. Try and be prepared for every scenario – that means making sure your phone is fully charged, or keeping a powerbank in your car. We’ve got a wide selection of phone accessories at Euro Car Parts, to help you stay connected on your journey.
You’ll also want to pack basic supplies in a winter breakdown kit, just in case your car gets stuck somewhere, like a torch, water, snacks and a few extra layers of warm clothing. If possible, making your journey in daylight is also a good idea, as you’ll avoid reduced visibility, and be sure to let someone know when and where you’re driving.
Check Your Tyres
There are some basic checks you may want to carry out before you set out on a winter drive. For example – if your tyre tread is wearing pretty low, you’ll have reduced grip on the road, which can prove extremely dangerous if you encounter ice on your way, and increase the chance of skidding and wheelspin. Ideally, your trye tread should be at least 4mm for wintry conditions.
Top Up Your Antifreeze
Another important thing to take care of before you leave is topping up your engine coolant with antifreeze. Generally speaking, engine coolant is around 50% water and 50% antifreeze, but it’s a common mistake to only top it up with water throughout the year, so that when temperatures drop, it’s too diluted, and freezes solid.
While you’re at it, make sure you’ve got enough antifreeze in your screen washer fluid too, and check your windscreen for any especially concerning chips or cracks, as these can often grow and worsen in cold weather.
Check Your Headlights
This is for the safety and benefit of other drivers on the road, as much as it is for your own. Before taking a long winter drive, check that all your lights are working – including full beam, dipped, fog lights and even your indicators. The best way to do this is by enlisting someone to watch your lights as you sit behind the wheel when the car is stationery and test each setting.
Replacing any broken car bulbs, and cleaning any especially dirty headlights can drastically improve both your own view of the road, and the ability of other drives to see you in good time.
Drive Slowly And Carefully
The most important thing to remember when you’re driving in wet, snowy or icy conditions is that your stopping distance will increase massively when you brake. On icy roads, it might take you 10 times longer to come to a stop than it would on a dry day.
When you’re on the road, try and drive fairly slowly, so you leave a larger-than-usual gap between yourself and the vehicle before you. Keep a close eye on the behaviour of drivers in front of you – it might give you an idea if there’s a hazard up ahead, and make sure your acceleration is nice and gradual, rather than sharp.
If you do encounter black ice, resist the urge to hit the brakes, and avoid any sudden movements. Try and steer through it as smoothly as possible, and keep your speed low – changing gears to achieve this if you need to avoid braking.
Prepping your car for winter journeys doesn’t need to cost a fortune; you can find a whole host of affordable products that’ll keep you and your vehicle safe right here at Euro Car Parts. Head over to our website and check out our comprehensive selection of winter essentials today.