Winter has arrived and with it, unfortunately, comes the cold. While some might say that it’s the most wonderful time of the year, if you are heading out on the roads this winter, chances are you are going to encounter two of the most difficult driving conditions – snow and ice. While snow may look beautifully picturesque when you’re sat at your window staring outside, having to go out in your car is quite a dangerous business. Ice is even more dangerous, as you can’t always spot it so rapidly. And a sudden change in temperature can leave roads looking more like an ice rink. So, what can you do to ensure your safety? The courtesy van and alloy wheel repair experts at our commercial vehicle repair centre have put together a list of essential tips for driving in snow and ice, so that you can be safer in wintry conditions.
1. Top up your anti-freeze
One of the biggest problems that comes with cars in the winter is the water levels becoming frozen solid. When the weather is cold and you just want to get in your car and go, the last thing you need is to sit and wait around for the engine to warm up enough to get going. But, as you top up the water levels across the year, chances are you’ve been diluting the anti-freeze that is in your car. So, when the cold does hit, it’s inevitably going to be less protected against the chill. In order to avoid your water freezing over, take a moment to get some anti-freeze and add it to your car’s water levels.
2. Get a de-icer spray and scraper
Even if your engine isn’t frozen, chances are that your windows and mirrors are likely to become covered in ice in the winter. This can again leave you waiting for the glass to clear, and you don’t want to be desperately scraping at the glass with an object such as a bank card or, even worse, your hands. Buy yourself some de-icer spray and a plastic scraper, so that you can properly clear your windows before you get going. That way you will have a clear view of the road and won’t be taking a risk with your vision obscured.
3. Check your tyres
In icy and snowy conditions, your brakes are vitally important. But if you don’t have the right grip on your tyres, then you are likely to be in serious trouble. Take a look at the tyre tread to ensure that you have no bald patches or severe wear and tear. You should also check the air pressure of the tyres and make sure that they are inflated to the correct levels.
4. Getting going
When you start off, you will want to be moving slow and steady. It might be easier for you to start in second gear as opposed to first, as this will prevent you from spinning your wheels too much on the ice. Even so, you need to be travelling slowly to start. That means checking around for oncoming traffic even more than normal. You want to provide plenty of time for yourself to get out on the road and up to speed. If you find yourself rushing, you are more likely to make a mistake that could be very difficult to rectify in the conditions.
The courtesy van and alloy wheel repair experts at our commercial vehicle repair centre explain how to get around in snow and ice effectively.
5. Slow down
The bad conditions mean that you need to take your time on the road. Unless the path has been cleared and there’s plenty of grit on the roads, you should be travelling at a speed below the limit, giving plenty of space between your car and the car in front. If you have to brake sharply, the ice will dramatically increase your stopping distance. So you want to give yourself sufficient time to react to the other drivers on the road. Slowing down is the best policy you could possibly have.
6. Getting out of a skid
Unfortunately, icy roads can often leave you skidding. No matter how slowly you are going, if you need to turn, you can end up sliding on the ice. If your car does start skidding, you must steer in to the skid. However, this needs to be done gently. Keep your hands on the steering wheel at all times and apply the brakes gently to slow down. If you are too sharp with your movements, you are increasing your chances of losing control.
7. Watch out for black ice
You might think that it’s a good idea to follow the tracks of the cars in front of you, especially in snowy and icy conditions. While it may look like a safe trail to follow, the cars in front of you will have been compacting down the snow, and thus turning it into ice. While it’s okay to be in it briefly, you should stick to following the road instead of other drivers.
8. Stay with your car
If you do get stranded and need to call for help, we recommend staying with your car. Not only is it shelter from the conditions and a source of warmth, but if help does arrive, you are with the car and can be taken to safety efficiently. You should pack a few extra blankets with you during the winter, so you can keep yourself warmer while you wait without having to drain the battery.
9. Take a change of footwear
If you’ve been out walking on the ice and snow, your shoes are likely going to be soaking wet. This means that you could end up slipping on the pedals. You also might find that your feet have become cold and wet, and numbed by the chill, which means you won’t be as comfortable using the pedals as you normally are. Having a spare pair of shoes and socks in your car can give you much more comfort and control.
10. Avoid driving if you can
By far the best winter driving tip though is to try and avoid driving if you can. The conditions are the most dangerous you can find, and even if you do follow our tips and drive safely, there’s no guarantee that other drivers on the road are doing the same. Unless you have a snowmobile or a 4×4 fitted with winter tyres and chains, you should only be making essential car journeys.
Use Jenkins & Pain, Award-Winning Accident Repair Centre
There you have it, if you do find yourself with damage to your beloved paintwork, plasti dip or steering alignment and need a dent repair, van body repair or courtesy car you can count on us to complete all jobs using industry-standard processes. We offer free quotes and with our exclusive repair service, we are sure you will be happy with the results. Contact our Vehicle Body Shop today. Jenkins & Pain are an accident repair centre based in Dover, Kent. We are proud to call ourselves an award-winning accident repair centre. Check out our guide on how to look after your alloys!
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We understand how costly and inconvenient it is for a vehicle to be off the road and therefore we use processes that ensure your vehicle is repaired quickly and efficiently. So whether you need minor scratch repairs, major body repair, or alloy wheel restoration, our van body shop and car body shop can guarantee a high-quality service. We also repair light commercial vehicles and motorhomes. Contact us today for a paint repair at our Car Body Shop!
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