Weather forecast says heavy snowfall ahead with stormy wind. It’s better now to stay back at home and not to hit roads. However, you are helpless and have to travel down to city. You take the car out and slowly try to steer your way out. It skids sideward on the thin snow deposited on the porch; and before you manage to hit the road car knocks the fence twice. This is common problem when you drive in winter with snowy and icy roads.
So, you must know how to drive safe in winter. Follow us.
1. 1. Preparing your vehicle for winter driving
You must start with preparing your car for winter drives. Lug in some extra stuffs in your car if you are not driving those heavy 4-WD SUVs with fancy snow wheels.
1. Warning triangle and reflective cloths to make your car visible enough on road.
2. Deicer, heater and scraper to clean frosts on car window and sills
3. First aid kit
4. Ice boots
5. Jump start cables
6. Stock food and warm water before you start in case you need t wait inside the car.
7. Mobile phone with in-car charger
8. Tow rope and shovel (if possible).
9. Warm cloths and blanket
2. 2. Check your car
Inspect car every time you go out with it in winter. Make sure that safety features are on.
- Check antifreeze mix preferably with antifreeze testers. Ideal mix would be equal amount of distilled water and antifreeze agent or you can follow company recommended mix.
- Check tire-treads. On icy and snowy roads, ideal tread depth is 3 mm fro better road grip.
- Check air pressure within the tube or tire (if using tubeless tires). Keep the pressure at recommended level. Check for visible damage.
- Check engine oil and oil filter. Use only recommended oil to keep engine smooth.
- Keep air filters clean. In winter we use maximum in-car heater. Poor air filtration system will spoil health of in-car air circulation.
3. 3. De-ice your windows
Check window, wind-shield, wipers, headlamps, tail-lamps and rear view mirrors every time you start your vehicle. Switch on in-car defroster to deice and scrape out snow and frosty deposits. Spray deicer on the windshield. Keep doors closed while defrosting and never use hot water to clear out frosts from windows. That could cause cracks on glass objects.
4. 4. Drive safely in snow and ice
You need to change you driving style to suit snowy and icy surfaces.
1. Almost every modern car sports ice and snow warning system depending on outside 4.. Use that.
2. Maintain safe distance from preceding car; generally it should 10 times of the distance you normally maintain on dry, clean roads. That will give you sufficient maneuvering buffer in case of any problem.
3. Moving tires get silent on icy surface. That’s a signal you must care for and accordingly change pace.
4. Don’t rev engine too much. That will cause tire to go deeper inside the snow causing unnecessary drag. You might also get stuck within deep snow.
·5. To avoid skidding, keep the transmission on highest gear and slowly steer the car forward and backward to crawl out of the snow.
5. 5. Avoid skidding
Most common problem on snow is skidding. To avoid the trouble, you must,
- Plenty of room ahead between your and preceding car.
- Drive slow always, never ever move faster that 40 mph.
- Get steady on brake as you approach a corner. Skidding near a corner is last thing you would like on a snowy surface.
- Due to low traction there always remains a chance of oversteering. So, you must not oversteer on your own.
- In case you skid while turning, push the clutch down, turn the steering in the direction of skid and slowly engage brake. Never brake suddenly as that’ll take control out of your hand.
6. 6. Beware of bridges and over passes
When possible avoid bridges and overpasses. They are exposed to maximum wind and get snowed very fast. In case you have to, slow down before you start ascending. Keep eyes open for any other moving and stationary objects.
7. 7. What to do if you get stuck on ice
Best ways to save yourself from getting stuck within deep snow are,
- Don’t rev engine and spin wheel. You’ll get into deeper danger.
- Set the transmission at higher gear and try drive slowly. That’ll help wheels to ride over the snow.
- Keep a soft foot on throttle and move wheels sideways to clear out snow from the path.
- In case you have to brake don’t slam it. Instead try pumping the brake.
- Rocking the car would also save you from getting stuck. You’ll need to move from forward to reverse gear in quick succession with soft throttling. However, it may cause damage to your transmission.
8. 8. Stay safe in your car if you need to wait for help
In case you’re stuck within deep snow, it’s better to wait in-side car for outside help.
- Make phone calls for rescue.
- Keep window slightly down for air circulation.
- Start engine after certain interval and start heater. That will defrost some of the ice and snow.
- Turn the lights on to attract any passer by.