Driving in winter begins far before igniting the engine of your car. From the regular commute to a spontaneous road trip, driving in this season necessitates preparations well in advance.
- Plan an event with the weather in mind
Winter is almost always synonymous with unpredictable weather. It becomes a prerequisite to keep an eye out for the latest weather forecasts and update yourself frequently on the climatic conditions. Weather prediction apps only go so far, so make sure you scan all reliable sources ahead of making your trip.
- Allocate extra time
During this season, you have to be more punctual than usual to make sure that you have a serviceable car with cleaned windows, mirrors, license plates, and lights. Ensure that the windscreen has been thoroughly demisted. Start by using lukewarm water on the outer surface and rub it off with a proper scraper. Do not pour boiling water on the outer surface of the car, because the abrupt discrepancy in temperature can damage it. De-icers are another viable option, but they have their limits. On the inner surface, obliterate the mist by turning up the heater at a steady pace- starting with cool and escalating to hot. Carry a lock de-icer with you to avoid finding yourself stuck outside your car unexpectedly. Demist the lights well as you will be using them more frequently in the darker conditions of winter and they are vital for your visibility.
- On the road
Along with other items on the checklist, the functionality of the wipers is crucial to driving in the snow to maximize your range of vision in a compromised environment. Be on the safe side with at least a half-full tank of gas so that you are not caught in the middle of nowhere without any fuel. Make sure to not stop frequently while going up a hill because that will cause a loss in inertia. Finally, follow the cardinal rule of accelerating and de-accelerating at a moderate pace.
- Slow down for safety
Take into account the roads that are extra slippery because they are susceptible to accidents. Leave greater distance between your car and that of others so that parking does not become an arduous task. While driving, a generalized distance of eight to twelve seconds is deemed appropriate. This range shifts based on the environmental conditions, the slope of the road, and the weight of the vehicle. Here, you will be required to modify your usual stopping distance to adjust to the immediate weather.
- Think before overtaking
You must think meticulously before passing a vehicle, in particular, if the vehicle is a heavy one. Be cautious to not be too close to trucks and snow-plows because they tend to displace the surrounding snow, resulting in a reduced field of visibility. Be more attentive when approaching a bridge or off-ramps, where the road might be afflicted to a worse degree.
- Winter gear
Extreme weather conditions entail apposite equipment. It is crucial to not just own this equipment, but also to know how and when to use them. Your tires should be inflated correctly with an adequate tread and should be predisposed to the unfavorable weather. You could carry snow chains as a standby option, but be sure to verify how to use them. For this, you could rely on professional assistance, provided by an enrollment in advanced driving lessons in Malden, so that you can be assured at all times.
- Be prepared for the worst
A brusque change of plans will happen, and not always in your favor. Equip yourself with essentials like a flashlight, a hi-vis coat, shovels, scrapers, phone chargers, blankets, a warning triangle, screenwash and food and water. Amongst all of these, you must obligatorily keep a working cell phone with you at all times, providing you access to your breakdown provider in case you need help.
With these pointers in mind, you can optimize your car with peak operating conditions even in the harshest weather.