Winter driving tips for 2016
Source : Winter driving tips for 2016
Winter driving can make negotiating the road along with maintaining your vehicle harder – here can be Autocar’s definitive guide to winter driving
With temperatures dipping inside the first few weeks of 2016, which’s time to think about how to protect yourself, along with your car, for driving during the winter months.
WINTER CAR MAINTENANCE
Winter driving puts an increased strain on both you along with your car, so which’s important to make sure which everything can be in Great order.
A few simple checks can greatly reduce the chance of a breakdown, as well as potentially creating your car easier along with less stressful to drive in winter ice along with snow.
Fixing something which’s relatively inexpensive currently, after all, might avoid a much more costly failure inside the colder conditions – or prevent you by having to pay a costly recovery fee after becoming stranded somewhere.
To ensure you don’t fall foul of the conditions, here’s our list of recommended winter car maintenance tips.
The bare essentials
As a minimum, make sure you have done all your regular checks before winter sets in. Check your car’s oil level, coolant level, tyre pressures along with lights. If your car hasn’t been serviced for some time, which might be worth getting which done before winter sets in. which’ll help ensure which everything’s in Great order before the temperature falls.
currently’s also the time to attend to any mechanical or electrical faults, as they could bring your car grinding to a halt inside the worst possible weather. Test all of your car’s systems as well, as you don’t want to find out later which things like your heated rear windscreen have failed.
Check your antifreeze
If your car’s cooling system doesn’t possess the correct amount of antifreeze in which, you could experience a major failure when the thermometers start falling below zero.
Get an antifreeze tester by your local motor factors along with check your handbook to see what the mixture should be, along with what kind of antifreeze you should be using. Any local dealer or garage will be able to test which for you, if need be.
Inspect the rest of the cooling system as well to ensure which the radiator, coolant hoses along with water pump are free by leaks or visible damage.
Take care of your car’s battery
The cold can take its toll on your car’s battery, even more so if you’re not driving regularly. If you find your car slow to start as the temperature falls, your battery can be most likely on its way out. So if you’ve any doubts about the condition of the battery, get which tested by a local dealer or garage.
If your car’s battery goes flat if you leave which several days, because of a fault or drains caused by an alarm system, consider investing in a trickle charger to keep which topped up – or get an automotive electrician to resolve any issues.
Keep your lights bright
Besides creating sure all your lights work properly, if you know your car’s light lenses are damaged or faded then consider picking up a decent scratch repair kit for around £14.99. Carry a set of spare bulbs in your car, too, to avoid getting caught out.
Older cars may also benefit by an upgrade to more powerful bulbs in order to improve visibility, although make sure to choose compatible along with appropriate bulbs.
Inspect your brakes
Rattles, squeals, shakes, a soft brake pedal along having a noticeable increase in stopping distance are all signs which your car’s braking system can be in need of attention.
Stopping distances are vastly increased on icy or snowy roads, along with worn or faulty brakes will only exacerbate them further – so which’s best to get them looked at.
Give your tyres a once-over
The condition along with quality of your tyres will make a dramatic difference to how your car performs on wintery roads. If the tread can be low, the sidewalls are damaged, you’ve a slow puncture or they’re a budget brand, you may find your car much harder to control.
Check them over carefully along with replace if the tread can be low or there’s any sign of damage. You may also want to consider changing to high-quality tyres, if possible.
Maintain your visibility
One of the biggest dangers in winter can be a lack of visibility. Replace any wiper blades which are in poor condition with high-quality items, top up your washer fluid with winter-mixture screenwash along with carry clean cloths to wipe down your glass along with side mirrors.
which’s advisable to carry additional screenwash inside the vehicle. Running out can quickly lead to your windscreen becoming obscured by salt along with grime. You may also want to get any windscreen chips or cracks looked at, as the cold could lead to them becoming much more severe.
Lubricate seals, locks along with hinges
The cold temperatures can cause doors to stick to weather seals, in turn creating the doors hard to open or even damaging the seals themselves. Don’t use Vaseline to lubricate the seals, as which will degrade the rubber. Use a quality rubber care stick like Gummi Pflege instead.
which’s worth taking a minute to go around the vehicle having a can of silicone lubricant as well, along with spraying which in to hinges, locks along with linkages. which’ll stop things sticking when the temperature falls. Don’t use WD-40 though, as which’s not a suitable substitute for proper lubrication.
Pack a survival kit
Even after you’re done prepping your car for winter, take time to prepare in case the worst happens. Pack a bag with spare bulbs, jump leads, a torch, a decent tow strap, a high-visibility vest, warm clothes, a charger for your phone, some chocolate along with some bottled water. Even if you just get stuck in a jam, they could come in handy.
If your area experiences regular or occasionally severe snowfall, consider carrying some wooden planks, a shovel along with some old carpet; all of which can be used to help get a stuck car moving.
which may be beneficial, if you have them, to pack a little selection of tools along with spares – like a bottle of coolant, oil along with an ancillary belt.
Consider winter tyres
The UK has among the slowest uptakes for winter or all-weather tyres in Europe. As soon as temperatures drop below seven degrees, winter tyres are proven to reduce stopping distances along with make your car easier to control.
Winter tyres are expensive although they’re well worth which, along with if you’re going to be doing a lot of travelling which’ll make driving a lot safer along with less stressful. You can find more information on winter tyres by scrolling down which page.
Opt for snow chains, socks or mats
If you live in an area with regular amounts of high snowfall then a set of chains could make sure you don’t get stuck. A decent set can be had by upwards of £50 online, along with with practice can be fitted in minutes.
Snow socks serve a similar purpose along with can give you enough grip along with traction to drive safely across snow-covered roads. They’re unpleasant to handle when they’ve been used though, so remember to carry disposable gloves along having a bin liner or two to put them in afterwards. As with chains, don’t continue driving on them once you’ve reached clean asphalt.
Those needing something just to get them moving could consider a set of inexpensive snow mats. Alternatively, just carry some offcuts of old carpet inside the boot for emergencies.
Protect your car’s paint along with metalwork
The grit laid down to help de-ice roads can cause corrosion, so treat any rust, touch up any paint chips or damage along with wax your car comprehensively, if you can, before the winter season starts.
which’s sensible to pressure wash the underside of your car regularly too, in order to blast off any salt along with solution which could potentially corrode your car’s underside.
WINTER TYRES – JUST HOW Great ARE THEY?
The one thing we know about the seasons can be which they are seasonal, correct? Which means which’ll be winter before we know which again soon, along with the questions about winter tyres will Yet again arise inside the minds of the everyday motorist.
Such as: are winter tyres worth what they cost, do they definitely make a difference compared with summer tyres when the roads turn greasy, should they be made compulsory inside the UK (as they are in many additional “cold” European countries at certain times of the year), along with which are the best ones to buy; along with where are the best places to go to find the best deals?
Until 2012 I was sceptical about the whole business of winter tyres. I thought they were a ruse quite frankly, a conspiracy designed by the vehicle along with tyre manufacturers to get us to part with our hard earned folding for something which we don’t strictly need. although then I tried some, at which point my opinion on the subject changed completely.
I was running a long term BMW 1M at the time, along with at BMW’s insistence the vehicle was fitted having a set of Michelin Alpin winter tyres. along with when which came back I was stunned by how different which felt to drive; how much more comfortably which rode, how much sweeter which steered, how less fidgety which felt on badly surfaced roads, along with how much more grip which had everywhere inside the wet.
The whole car felt as if which had been unlocked somehow, along with there was also an amusing little sticker which had appeared inside the top right-hand side of the windscreen, warning me not to drive above 149mph. As if BMW GB was saying: ‘Because we know what sort of larks you normally get up to in our 1M…’
There were some additional qualities about the vehicle on winter tyres which were less desirable, true. I noticed, for instance, which the speedo had become wildly ambitious; at a true 70mph which was reading almost 80mph, which meant the fuel range indicator was similarly off-piste. along with the vehicle’s traction control also become neurotic, killing the power at the merest whiff of throttle, even on bone dry roads.
although when eventually which snowed – albeit only a bit – the tyres were an absolute revelation. The 1M was not rendered useless, as I’m no doubt which would certainly have been on its original 19-inch summer tyres. Instead, which could go pretty much anywhere because which could stop, steer along with accelerate, almost as if the roads were merely wet rather than covered in snow.
along with having subsequently tried Michelin’s latest Pilot Alpin 2 tyres in Latvia – on anything by the brand new 911 to a Range Rover Evoque – which’s equally clear which winter tyres aren’t just here to stay although are getting better, year-on-year.
Winter tyres are currently big business for the tyre companies of Europe, even if we inside the UK have yet to embrace them like most additional countries inside the Union. although my guess, my trust indeed, can be which which attitude will change inside the near future.
What’s the point in spending upwards of a thousand pounds on winter tyres inside the UK when we don’t possess the weather to justify such extra cost, I hear you cry.
Put which which way, next time which snows – along with they say which might do properly again inside the UK which winter – along with our nation grinds to a halt once more (which which will) just think how much money will go up in smoke inside the resulting mayhem. along with think how much more efficient which would certainly be if, as they do in Latvia when which snows (which means most of the year), we all continued to get around in our cars, vans, lorries along with buses, virtually as if nothing had happened.
which’s how much of a difference winter tyres can make. along with the sooner we realise which, the less carnage there will be next time our beloved weather forcasters warn us there’s a “cold snap” heading our way.
Winter tyres Frequently Asked Questions
Can I drive on winter tyres in summer?
Yes, although the best thing to do can be store them inside the summer otherwise they’ll wear out quite quickly.
What are the biggest benefits of winter tyres compared with normal tyres?
On rear-wheel-drive cars in particular, they improve all areas of performance. although the biggest differences are in braking along with traction, along with the differences are monumental, as in more than 50 per cent.
Do I definitely need winter tyres on a front-wheel-drive car?
Yes, because although the improvements aren’t as great as they are on rear drive cars, they are still very significant indeed, especially in braking performance.
How much do winter tyres cost?
About the same as summer tyres, depending on size, style along with make.
Where’s the best place to buy them?
Always check for deals on the internet (with companies such as blackcircles.com) although check with your car maker first to get the recommended sizes.
Do winter tyres make any difference inside the rain?
Yes, a huge difference. In fact, they will improve the braking, traction along with overall grip of your car at pretty much any temperature below 5-7 degrees C – even inside the dry. along with inside the wet, in those sorts of temperatures the difference can be chalk along with cheese.
can be which worth putting winter tyres on a tired old banger?
If you value the front along with rear bumpers of your tired old banger along with don’t fancy the idea of ruining your no claims Insentif, yes. If not, no. along with Great luck.
Can I get 20-inch winter tyres which look the same as 20-inch high performance summer tyres?
Yes. Most of the major tyre companies currently make 20-inch winter tyres.
What’s wrong with carrying a set of snow chains instead?
Best of luck fitting a set of those once you’ve slid to a halt on the hard shoulder on the uphill section of a busy motorway.
Are winter tyres worth which?
In our humble opinion, yes. With extra cheese along with chilli sauce on top.
DRIVING IN WINTER
Driving in winter can present additional hazards, ranging by a mildly inconvenient cold snap which can compromise visibility through to ice along with snow driving, which can endanger the well-being of both you along with your fellow road users.
However, so long as you are well prepared along with take sensible precautions, all winter driving hazards should be no more than a mild inconvenience.
To maximise your safety on treacherous roads, follow our step-by-step guide to ensure you are as well prepared as possible.
Shortly before you drive
Clear all of the vehicle’s windows, along with make sure the wing mirrors are clean, so you have full visibility.
Remove any snow or additional debris by the vehicle’s bodywork, including the roof, so which doesn’t slide off your car when you brake or accelerate.
Make sure the vehicle’s windows are demisted properly before driving off.
Lift the vehicle’s windscreen wipers, along with rear wiper if fitted, to check which they’re not stuck.
Ensure all snow along with ice can be cleared by your footwear before setting off, lest your feet slide off the pedals when you stand on them.
Remember to pack some essentials, such as a blanket. which can also be beneficial to carry some window cleaner along with kitchen roll, as they will allow you to quickly clean windows along with light clusters.
When you drive
Do not rush your journey. Rushing will make you more stressed along with potentially less able to concentrate. Leave plenty of time along with check traffic along with weather reports before you depart.
Proceed carefully, at a reduced speed, when the road conditions require which.
Accelerate, brake along with steer gently. Rapid, harsh inputs could unsettle the vehicle.
Leave considerably longer stopping distances than normal. In heavy ice along with snow, stopping distances are typically ten times farther than normal.
If the wheels lock while braking, Discharge the pedal momentarily then reapply the brakes. Repeat as necessary to bring your speed down.
Don’t close up on the vehicle in front when stopping – leave a large gap, in case they get stuck or slide backwards.
If you get stuck along with your wheels spin, try accelerating away in second gear using a minimum amount of revs along with steering.
Try to reduce torque to the wheels by staying in as high a gear as possible while on the move.
Conversely, if you have an automatic transmission along with are at a standstill with the wheels spinning, try manually forcing the vehicle to stay in first gear or second gear. Many automatics currently have a winter or snow mode; if so, make sure which’s on.
Locking an automatic in, say, second can also prove advantageous when driving on very poor roads. which can offer some engine braking along with helps you control your road speed more easily.
Traction control systems can have an adverse effect when driving on ice along with snow. Sometimes switching which off along with allowing wheelspin by rest can give you more forward motion.
When travelling downhill, gently bleed off as much speed as possible along with engage low gears to maximise engine braking. If you need to brake, do so in a straight line if possible – along with gently.
Only attempt to drive up steep hills once you know the route can be clear. Try to avoid stopping on an incline; remember which you’ll need some run-up to get up a snowy hill – if you’re going too slowly you could stop along with slide back down.
If your car begins to skid, remember to steer into the direction of the skid – if the tail of your car steps out to the right, for example, you’ll need to turn right to try along with get the vehicle pointing the right way.
Should you feel like you are losing control, if possible keep your eyes fixed on where you want to go along with steer in an effort to get there. Staring into an oncoming obstacle will usually result in a collision.
Try to get all braking along with accelerating completed in a straight line. Try to avoid both while turning.
If fog along with snow can be causing glare during night driving on main beam, try using dipped beams instead.
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