Driving winter – a few rules
Stay alert, slow down and stay in control
These are the three key elements to safe winter driving. Winters are challenging for motorists. Drive according to motorway and weather conditions, which can be unpredictable.
Safety is a top priority
Winter driving places extra demands on your vehicle and your driving skills. So make sure you are well prepared for winter conditions.
Consider using winter tyres
Winter tyres (cold weather tyres) improve driving safety by providing better traction, braking and handling during frost, snow, slush, and particularly under icy conditions. Installing four winter tyres provides greater control and stability. Please note: Cold Weather tyres are a legal requirement in some countries.
Be aware of your limits and those of other drivers
Stay focussed on your surroundings. Adjust your driving speed to existing conditions and keep a safe distance between you and the vehicle in front of you. Avoid situations where you may have to brake suddenly on a slippery surface.
It’s essential that you anticipate braking by assessing the necessary braking distance. Avoid sudden braking and travelling at high speeds. Don’t make any sudden movements, and avoid accelerating too hard (acceleration should be gradual and not heavy). Try to brake gradually to stop the wheels locking. If the wheels lock up, the vehicle will slide and go out of control. If this happens, release the brake pedal to recover traction, then use engine braking along with with the brake pedal. To decrease the risk of skidding when going uphill, use a higher gear ratio than you would when travelling in dry weather.
To avoid the risk of sliding when pulling away on snow, it’s essential to accelerate very gradually. If the wheels slide, engage the next gear up to decrease the force applied to the wheels. Then you’ll be able to pull away cleanly.
Before tackling a bend, slow down in a straight line. To avoid the tyre sliding and losing control when you take the corner, steer with a constant, flowing movement. Maintain a slow and regular speed.
Loss of control of front wheels
If the car loses grip at the rear (but still has grip at the front), in a front wheel drive vehicle, gently accelerate to regain balance. In a rear wheel drive vehicle, gently lift your foot off the accelerator until the rear wheels regains grip. Then gently accelerate again to maintain your speed. On no account should you brake, as this will accentuate the imbalance at the rear.