Winter is a beautiful and also a potentially dangerous time of the year. If you plan on travelling during bad winter conditions, it pays to be prepared for the unexpected. We’ve put together the following tips to help you stay safe and minimize the potential hazards posed by driving in cold weather, winter storms or icy roads:
- Prepare for an emergency. Make sure there is an emergency kit in your car where you keep warm clothes, blankets, a sack of sand for traction, shovel, windshield scraper and brush, de-icer, tool kit, towrope, jump leads and a torch with extra batteries in your boot.
- Make sure your phone is always charged.
- Check the latest weather updates for your area and listen to local authorities. If the local authorities recommend you stay off the road, take their advice.
- Don’t forget to have an adequate supply of windshield washing liquid in your vehicle to wash away the mud and melted snow that can severely limit visibility.
- Try to keep your fuel tank full during the winter months. Don’t allow the fuel to go below half a tank. Not only will this you prevent damage from freezing, but you also avoid running out of fuel if you’re stuck in a traffic jam during the dead of winter.
Don’t forget Maintenance
- Have a mechanic check your car’s battery, brakes, fluid levels (antifreeze, windscreen washer fluid and oil), as well as the heating, exhaust systems, ignition system, thermostat and lights to ensure that your car is in good, safe working condition.
- Ensure all tyres (including spare) have enough thread and are in excellent condition.
When you are On the Road
- Drive at a safe and appropriate speed.
- Dipping night-time temperatures bring back frost to windshields and roads. Keep a windshield scraper and small broom in your car. De-accelerate or gently brake when approaching bridges and overpasses: open surfaces are more prone to collect frost on the roadway surface.
- Allow extra space between you and vulnerable road users, such as cyclists and motorcyclists when you drive.
- Drive with dipped headlights always when you drive in windy conditions.
- Stay away from coastal areas.
- Park away from trees and other tall objects.