The Dangers Of Driving In Winter (And How To Avoid Them)
Summer is over, and autumn has rolled in with a whole host of pumpkin spiced goods, Halloween decorations and tartan hitting our stores. Since the days are getting shorter, and the nights are growing colder; driving conditions have changed somewhat.
That is why we must prepare our car for the dangers of driving in colder weather because the last thing you want is to end up in a fatal accident. There are many different factors which affect our driving in the winter, and these can be dangerous to ourselves and other motorists.
With autumn and winter always comes lots more wind. Strong winds can cause trees to fall on the road and can push your car to the side while you are driving it. It can be a scary experience, but here are some ways to prepare for high winds:
- Pack well – some warm clothes, food and water and a charged phone are essentials in case you become stuck anywhere.
- Plan Your Journey – try to avoid small country lanes and off-road.
- Drive Slowly – The Wind can affect the efficiency of your brakes, so it is important to drive slow and steady.
- Keep a Distance – make sure to allow for extra room between you and the vehicle in front, because you don’t know what the wind will do.
Driving On Ice
Ice is one of the main hazards for driving in the winter and causes the most accidents amongst motorists. It is not advisable to drive on ice unless absolutely necessary, so decide whether you really need to make the trip before getting in the car.
Make sure to invest in winter tires to offer you more grip on the road. If you do decide to go out: make sure to pack some food and drink and snow trax in case you become snowed in.
Winter brings shorter days and cold nights. Driving at nighttime can be hazardous enough, but in stormy or icy conditions driving is even worse. Make sure that you check all of your lights before you make a trip out. Again, be prepared with a flashlight for emergencies.
The colder months are an uncertain and dangerous time to be on the road, and this can lead to many more accidents than in the summer. Before you even consider driving in the icy conditions, it may be worth looking at potential lawyers for the worse case scenario. You will at least have peace of mind then that if you are involved in a collision, you can make your claim quickly. Sites such as this one https://www.stephenbabcock.com/locations/ruston/ offer all types of services for motorists who are involved in road accidents. Also make sure to always have your mobile phone with you, fully charged in case anything happens, and you need to contact the emergency services or your family.
At the start of winter, you should begin to stock up your vehicle with some essential items in case of an emergency, and even just for a safer driving experience. Below are some of the things we recommend:
- Ice scraper and De-Icer – For icy/ snowy days to clear your windscreen and windows for full visibility.
- Torch and spare batteries – If you get lost in the dark and need to pull over, you’ll need a torch to find your way around.
- Warm clothes and blankets
- High-visibility jacket – So that if you find yourself walking, motorists can see you
- Boots with good grip
- First aid kit – This is good practice all-year round, but keeping a small kit with sterile wipes, bandages, and scissors is a very good idea.
- Jump start cables – You may find your battery becomes flat and you need a helping hand, so keeping these in the car is a great idea for any time of the year
- Empty fuel can – The worst feeling is to run out of fuel and then wait to be towed. Instead, being a can with you so you can go in search of a fuel station yourself.
- Food and drink
- Sunglasses – The sun is lower during the colder months, and ice on the ground can lead to the sunlight glaring up into your eyes. Keep a pair of sunglasses at all times to avoid difficulty.
- Phone charger – You can find a car phone charger here: https://www.amazon.com/cell-phone-car-chargers/b?ie=UTF8&node=2407770011
Aquaplaning is when a layer of water builds up between the tires and the road beneath. This means that the tires can no longer grip the road and can lead to skidding out of control. It is usually caused by heavy rainfall, which is more common during winter.
If you do experience aquaplaning, there are some things you can do to avoid crashing. If you have cruise control on, turn it off, this way you can control the speed of the car yourself. Slowly reduce the pressure on your accelerator.
Keep your hands straight on the steering wheel, and once you feel back in control, slowly press on the brakes. Don’t slam the brakes on because this will cause you to spin out of control. The trick is to stay calm and perform easy movements.
Winter, of course, brings lots of snow, sometimes so much that you cannot even leave the house, let alone drive in the car. If you do need to travel in snowy conditions, make sure to allow more time for the ride.
The worst thing you can do in the snow is trying to drive fast, stay slow and steady to avoid slipping off the road and causing an accident. Do all the essential checks on the vehicle before heading out. Check your tires, oil level, and antifreeze to allow for a safer journey. Like any other winter occasion, make sure you pack your emergency kit ready for the worst case.
Maintain plenty of room between you and the driver in front, don’t slam the brakes on and keep your speed steady. Using these simple tips will help to keep you safe and secure when driving in winter.