Ah, winter. It can be oh so pleasurable, what with all the hot cocoa, cozy nights in, and simple joys. But there’s another side to winter that makes it less enjoyable: getting behind the wheel and moving from A to B. It’s just not nice to be on the roads when it’s so cold, the conditions are poor, and it feels like we’re forever stuck in traffic because there’s been a minor collision up ahead. Still, the show must go on, and that means that we have to somehow manage the roads. Below, we take a look at a number of tips that’ll have you safe and secure this winter season.
Wait for the Engine To Warm Up
You’ll want to give yourself a little bit of extra time when you leave your home. That’s because it’s unwise to begin driving when your car hasn’t had any time to warm up. It’s going to be extra cold, especially during the height of winter, so plan on turning the engine on and letting it sit idle for a minute or so. There’s a reason why cars seem to break down during the chillier months: this is it. We can’t say for sure that everything will run smoothly even if you do give it a minute to warm up, but you’ll be decreasing the odds of something going wrong.
Remember, however, that not all car related incidents will be because you’ve spun on some ice. There’s also the matter of crime. If you’re letting your car warm up for just a minute then you’ll probably still in the vehicle, but if it’s all iced up and you’re waiting for it to melt before you set off, then you might seek refuge inside your home. Don’t do it! Thieves are especially active during the winter, and who can blame them? So many people leave the car unlocked, with the key in the ignition, entirely unattended. You’ll probably be OK if you live in the middle of nowhere, but if you’re in an urban area, you’ll want to think twice.
Check the Conditions
There’s not just one way to drive. There are multiple. The one that most people excel at is the “clear, bluebird day” driving. In the winter, they are few and far between. As such, you’ll be well-served by looking up the best way to drive in a number of weather conditions. Before you set off in the morning, check to see what is forecast for the day ahead. It can be a disconcerting to drive into a snowstorm that you had no idea was on its way. If you know what to expect, you can set off earlier than normal in order to beat the inclement weather.
It’s often not the weather that causes so much trouble, but the reduced light. During the winter, it’s mostly like driving at night, because we set off for work before the sun has risen and drive home after it’s dark. The only difference between normal night driving and being on the roads during the is that, during the winter, everyone else is on the roads too. As such, some added care is needed. For example, it’s vitally important that you put extra space between your vehicle and the one that’s in front of you. When you’re on quieter roads, take corners a bit slower, especially if there are no vehicles ahead to guide the way.
Grip on the Roads
You might not give too much importance to your tires, but that’s a mistake. They’re important at all times if you want to stay safe on the road, but especially during the winter, when it’s additionally crucial that you have a good grip on the roads. If you don’t know if your tires are in good enough condition to navigate the chilly roads, have them looked at by a company like TelleTire.com. Two cars can handle the same road very differently, if their tires aren’t in check. If your tires weren’t as road-ready as you thought, you’ll notice the difference almost straight away when you take to the streets with your new set.
If you’ve got a small crack in your screen, and you’ve been ignoring it for months, then you might want to consider getting it taken care of before the real chill sets in. That’s because screens are especially vulnerable during the winter, and what with more potholes on the road, there’s an increased chance that you’ll experience a “bump” that makes it shatter completely. They can be fixed in a matter of minutes, so there’s no excuse.
While there are risks during all of winter, you’ll be especially vulnerable when you’re traveling to visit friends and family over the holiday period. That’s because the conditions are usually difficult, and you have so many other people on the road, who are driving in areas with which they’re not familiar. It’s a recipe for trouble, and indeed, that’s usually what happens. If you must travel on the roads between Christmas and New Year’s, give yourself extra time to reach your destination and, if possible, pick a route that’ll be less crowded with vehicles.
Car Emergency Kits
You can’t always prevent accidents on the road from happening. Sometimes you’ll skid into another vehicle. At other times, your car will break down. You can’t assume that it’s never going to happen! The key thing is to make sure that, if it does happen, that you’re ready to handle the incident. Make sure you have a car emergency kit in your vehicle, which contains water, blankets, and a high viz jacket in case you need to stand outside your vehicle in the dark while you’re waiting for help.
When To Keep Car at Home
Finally, remember that sometimes, it’s better to leave the car parked than to take to the roads. If the snow is falling heavily, call your boss and tell them you’ll be working from home that day.