Winter is here and the temperatures seem to be dropping like it’s nobody’s business. Now, not many people in tropical climates get to experience snowfall in the winters, unless they’re situated in the mountainous regions where the snow-capped peaks are part of your breakfast view. The change in weather, although often pleasant and wholeheartedly welcomed, does bring certain challenges with it as well. For those owning a vehicle, snowfall or ice on the roads can be dangerous while driving, unless certain precautions are taken. If it has snowed heavily, we’d suggest that you stay indoors. But if you just need to drive to someplace in such conditions, what exactly are some of the things one ought to do and refrain from doing?
The Dos of Driving in the Snow
The first thing you’d want to do in the winters is to make a thorough inspection of your car. Check the tire pressure since it tends to drop as well along with the drop in temperatures. You might also want to replace your tires and get ones with more tread on them; those designed especially for the winters (remember that all-weather tires are a poor substitute for these). It would also be prudent to keep a set of chains for your tires handy, especially if you’re planning to drive in the snow.
Check if you’ve got enough fuel (at least a tank half full), that your batteries are charged and that the headlights are functioning properly. Check the wiper blades and use a screen wash fluid suitable to the conditions. Pop that hood and take a look to check if any of the belts have been frayed on account of the cold weather. On the rear side of the car, check if the exhaust pipe’s been clogged by snow or dirt and clear it out. If you’re planning to take a trip that’s a little away from you, pack enough food, water, a flashlight with batteries and warm blankets with you. When driving, remember to wear shades since the glare from the snow can sometimes blind you temporarily. Drive slowly and at a steady pace; keeping a distance of about 10 times more than you normally would from the car in front of you (the braking efficiency of the car isn’t as effective on roads with snow or ice on them).
Don’t do this while driving
When it comes to the don’ts, we’d suggest that you don’t drive in the first place if it’s snowing heavily or if the weather reports warn you against it. Don’t forget to charge your phone before leaving (carry a phone charger along as well) so that you can call for help if needed. When clearing the snow off of your vehicle, don’t pour hot water over the windshield since it could crack the glass. Instead, use an ice scraper or a good quality de-icer. Don’t forget to scrape the snow from the top of your vehicle as well, since it can obscure your vision if you brake and it falls over your windshield.
While driving, if your car happens to skid, don’t hit the brakes or try to overcorrect your trajectory. Try to steer into the skid, keeping the steering steady and accelerating only a little. Do not pump the brakes and try to keep your hands off of the parking brake (this one would cause your car to go into a spin). Try to not break before or while you’re going up a hill, since keeping momentum is important on slippery roads. Do not try to accelerate too much either as it can cause the tires to spin, leading the car to lose traction. While you’re driving on the road, try to not get boxed between vehicles and keep enough distance to give you time to react. It would be a mistake to assume that everyone knows how to drive well in the snow. We hope these pointers help you stay safe while driving in the snow or on icy roads in the winters. Drive well, folks, for the winter has arrived.