Be Road-Ready This Winter
With winter comes all manner of tricky driving conditions. Whether you're tackling icy roads on your morning commute, or are doing long distances through mud and rain, it's important to be prepared for any eventuality. Even mild winter conditions can mean damp tarmac, leaf-strewn corners, and low-light conditions so don't wait for the snow to get your car winter-road-ready.
These tips from Goodyear will help your car better cope with inclement weather as well as help keep you safe when you're out and about.
Watch your speed
Wet and icy roads reduce traction, making it much harder to control your car if you're going too fast. Because rain, ice, and snow can increase braking distances, it's important to slow down and increase your distance so you can more easily come to a stop.
Being gentle on the brakes can also help you to slow down but don't forget to use your gears too — moving down through the gears can help you slow down more safely with less risk of locking your wheels and sliding.
Check your tires
It's important to check that your tread depth is within the legal limit. If you regularly drive in wintry conditions, winter tires will reduce your stopping distances, too. In fact, even if you're not driving in snow and ice, winter tires are recommended for this time of year. Keep an eye on the average outside temperature as Goodyear recommends switching to winter tires as soon as the weather starts to turn. The Goodyear UltraGrip Performance+ tires provide exemplary handling in all weather conditions.
Know how to get unstuck
Winter brings with it the chance that you'll get stuck in mud or snow. If this happens, it's important to know what to do. Giving your vehicle a lot of gas to try and pull away is counter-intuitive and will only get you more bogged down as your wheels spin.
Instead, put your vehicle in a higher gear and try to pull away slowly. The lower torque will help you get more grip without the wheel spin.
Watch out for ice
Bridges are more prone to ice than other parts of the road so approach with caution, slow down, and drive smoothly. This will help you if you do hit a patch of ice.
If you're going to be doing a long journey and the weather is set to get bad, it might be worth packing your car with some essentials in case you get stuck or need to wait for a recovery vehicle. You might consider including some of the following items:
- Warm clothing and blankets
- Snacks and water
- Warning triangle
- Hi-vis jackets or vests
- In-car charger
- Fire extinguisher
- First-aid kit
Some of these items will be required by law — such as a hi-vis vest, warning triangle and first aid kit — depending on the country you are driving in so check local laws to ensure you're carrying at least the minimum. All these items will help you if you break down or get stranded but the best thing you can do is make sure your vehicle is ready for the journey.
Get your car checked over
Any vehicle with an underlying issue is more likely to break down when cold weather hits. It's important you get your car checked over — beyond the tires — especially if you're going to be doing a lot of miles over winter. Make sure to check:
- Your battery is charged
- All lights are in full working order
- You have good quality windscreen wipers that aren't damaged or cracked
- Your windscreen washers are topped up with fluid suitable for freezing temperatures
A car that's in full working order is going to be a much better winter companion than one that's been struggling with any kind of issue, no matter how small it seems.
More than anything, winter driving requires you to be alert and aware. Poor visibility and, often, treacherous conditions require all your attention to make sure you get to your destination safely.
Getting your vehicle ready for winter doesn't have to be difficult. The time you spend preparing your vehicle will help you stay safe on the roads and in bad weather.