How to drive safely in winter – some tips

Prepare the car well – in winter you do not want to get out of bed, but a driver whose car is not in a warm garage should get up 20 minutes earlier than in summer. You need to spend this extra time clearing snow, scraping and preparing the car before traveling. It is worth investing in a window defrosting spray – these liquids are really effective and do not cost too much.

Handle the gas and transmission with care – if you own a car with front-wheel drive, it’s theoretically easier. In practice, however, owners of 4 × 4 cars are the easiest to use. For all types of drive, be careful with downshifting and do not add gas when cornering, do not keep the car at high speed for too long – change gears faster and of course gently move. If it is difficult for us to start in 1st gear, you can try to start without gas or from 2nd gear.

Do not be afraid to move the steering wheel – on icy or snowy surfaces it is very easy to skid. If we have a completely empty and safe square, it is worth visiting it and adding a little more gas to it, check how the car behaves when losing grip and how to get out of it. All this in order to be able to anticipate and avoid slip during normal driving.

Take turns at a larger angle – this applies mainly to narrow residential roads, where the curbs are covered with neighbors’ cars. It is worth widening the entrance angle slightly before the corner, just like on a racing track. The harder we turn the steering wheel, the easier the front axle can lose traction. We brake, change gear and, if necessary, correct the driving path only before the turn.

Pay attention to other road users – often in winter ruts form on the roads, most often the left rut is shared with the left lane ruts. When passing an opposite driver, pay special attention to the snow strip between the ruts. It is not always necessary to go all the way to the right, because the wheels may slide off the snow lane, as a result, instead of avoiding a collision, we will cause it ourselves.

Keep a larger distance and use the brake gently – in winter the braking distance increases even several times, so you should keep a proportionally larger distance to the vehicle ahead and watch out for cars visible in the rearview mirror. On very slippery surfaces, engine braking is great, i.e. simply downshifting.

Be careful when overtaking – just because there is a lot of snow in the city does not mean that the route must also be slippery. Often, national roads are completely black and can be overtaken normally. Particular attention should be paid when changing lane, because often between them a thin strip of snow is formed, which can be invisible – let’s “jump” to the adjacent lane with sides, first the left wheels, then the right.

Park front to the exit – when we leave the car overnight in front of the house, park backwards so that the vehicle is facing the exit. If it snows at night, it will be easier for us to move.

Tilt the windshield wipers at night – if the weather forecast clearly indicates the temperature at night below zero, and you know that the next morning you will have to go somewhere, after parking the car tilt the windshield wipers – this will prevent them from freezing. Frozen feathers wear out faster.

Swing before starting – if you can’t smoothly move from the parking space and the wheels spin, do not add gas. Rock the car a little with the coupling to compact the snow under the wheels. In winter, it is worth carrying a small shovel to dig snow in the trunk just in case.

Never ride loose – do not ride loose on slippery surfaces, the easiest way to lose grip is because the wheels spin inertly – by operating the accelerator pedal, we have no influence on them.

Heavier holds on the road better – drivers who are really afraid of any slips can refuel the car completely, and even put extra ballast in the trunk. A heavier car is less likely to slip, but when we overload the rear axle too much and we have a car with front drive, then the front wheels will have problems with traction.

Be careful on bridges and viaducts – Glaze, or colloquially black ice, is a layer of transparent ice that accumulates on asphalt, often invisible. Surroundings of bridges, viaducts (water reservoirs, humidity) are conducive to the formation of ice, so in these places particular attention should be paid to the condition of the pavement. Remember that sometimes when losing grip it is better to get into a snowdrift than to the car in front of us.

Take off your jacket and fasten your seat belt – many drivers visit their families during the holidays and wear suits. There is nothing wrong with this, but the jacket can restrain your movements, and then some prefer to give up the use of seat belts for greater freedom behind the wheel. It is much safer to turn on the heating, remove the jacket and fasten the seat belts – in winter it is much easier to get a bump.

Clean the windshield – light snowfall is often very annoying to the driver because it degrades visibility and the wipers only smear delicate snow. In winter, it is necessary to invest in the windshield washer fluid and use it without fear whenever the windscreen gets dirty.

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