Most of our glorious states are heading into the cold, wet, foggy Winter season. Driving in such conditions can be paralysing for some drivers, but there are a few simple things that you can do to keep you safe and remove the fear of Winter driving.
Service your car and check to see that all the safety equipment is in good working order.
Tyres – Starting from the ground up, check your treads. Tyres make a dramatic difference in your car’s overall safety and handling, and they are the only things connecting you to the road. Tread depth should be no less than 1.5mm with no visible damage, and make sure that your tyre pressure is in the recommended range for your vehicle.
Lights – Next comes the light show, which can be checked in your driveway with a friend. Start with the brake lights, then check the hazards, fog lights (if you have them), low beams, high beams, and indicators – checking both front and back sets are working.
Windscreen – You need to see when you drive so make sure you can! Check the windscreen wipers for damage, check the fluid reservoir is full, maybe invest in a water-repellent spray that can help the water to bead and improve vision. Head inside and make sure that the demisters for both the front and rear windows are working.
Slow down. Wet roads mean slippery roads, it’s not rocket science. Dirt and grease build up on roads over time and the rain can dislodge this mix creating a slippery surface, especially if it is the first big downpour. Accelerate a little slower, brake a little earlier and leave more room between you and the car ahead.
Watch the weather. You don’t need to become a meteorologist but be aware of and listen out for any warnings and plan accordingly. If you are heading to the alpine areas, pack snow chains and practise putting them on before you arrive. You will thank me for that last tip!
Know when to stop and pull over. If visibility is so bad that you can’t see the car in front of you or the edge of the road, then it is time to pull over safely and wait for conditions to improve. If you are stuck on the side of the road, make sure you are parked safely on the shoulder, hazard lights on and stay in your car.
Driving doesn’t need to be scary; you just need to be smart and drive to the conditions. Now get out there and enjoy the winter months.