Driving in snow and ice is really difficult. If you can avoid driving on snow and icy roads, then you should. If there is an emergency, then don’t drive until the sanding trucks have cleared the road and drive slowly.
Practicing winter driving techniques will help you drive safely. Owner’s manual will provide some tips for your specific vehicle which will be helpful while driving in winter. In this article we discuss some common safety checks and tips while driving in snow and ice.
- Battery: Generally most of the batteries will work for five years. In very rare cases they fail before the expiry date. Change the battery before it gets expired, it helps you avoid inconvenience. Avoid unnecessary electricity usage in the car like heaters, lights and wipers, that consume heavy energy from batteries, turn them off when starting the car engine. Use the starter for five seconds and maintain intervals of thirty seconds between attempts.
- Tires: If the roads that you drive by everyday are usually covered with snow or ice, use snow tires. These tires are also called winter tires. They have the symbol of snowflake and mountain, and tries with this symbol meet the standards of severe snow conditions. These tires have high silica content when compared to other tires, it helps to prevent hardening at lower temperatures and gives more grip. Minimum 3mm of tread is required for a tire to drive during winter. But make sure your tire is not below 2 mm tread. Some people reduce the pressure of the tire to get the grip, but infact it will reduce the stability.
- Snow chains: Generally snow chains are not required, it is only used when you are in a remote or isolated place and the roads are filled with ice because of heavy snow. The snow chains for tires helps in driving through snow and ice.
- Driving in snow: Make yourself comfortable and drive slowly while driving in snow. Wear comfortable clothes and dry shoes, avoid wearing cumbersome clothes and snow covered boots because they will slip on the pedals. Maintain slow and constant speed. Drive in second gear to avoid wheel spin. Some cars have winter mode gears that lock the first gear. To know more about winter mode gears check your owners manual.
- Visibility: Clean the glasses inside and outside thoroughly before you start driving. Cover the glasses with anti icing fluids. Check whether the windshield system is working or not. Replace the windshield wiper blades if required.
- Lights: Check whether the lights are in a working condition or not. Also check the lenses of the light, if it is not clear change the lenses.
- Black ice: Black ice is also called ‘glare ice’. It is very dangerous hazard in winter. Black ice is nearly transparent and sometimes you may lose the grip. So test the traction by applying a smooth brake or turn of the wheel slightly.
Even though you have good driving skills, you need to be extra cautious when driving in winter conditions. These tips will help you in driving by the snowy and icy roads more safely.