Goodyear Winter Press Pack 2021 - Safe winter driving
Winter brings many different driving conditions and requirements. From very wet weather to frozen and icy conditions, it’s best not to wait until the arrival of the first snows to ensure your car is winter driving ready. Smaller journeys can be just as challenging as longer distances, especially when light levels are low and roads are greasy. Safety is of paramount importance, so these tips from Goodyear will help keep you and your car on the roads during the more demanding winter season.
Check your car
Before you even set off on your journey, particularly a long one, it is important to check your car and consider packing some extra essentials in case you get stuck in a snowdrift or have to wait to be recovered if your car breaks down. Ahead of setting off, make sure the windscreen and windows are fully demisted and clear of any condensation – poor visibility increases the chances of an accident. Also make sure all of your car’s lights are working properly, as poor illumination means other road users can’t see your car easily and the likelihood of an accident increases.
It’s worth checking the condition of your car’s windscreen wipers too, to make sure that they aren’t damaged. Also inspect the windscreen washer fluid levels, and add the correct mix of screenwash formulated for winter conditions. Check the battery’s charge as well, as if you’re stranded with no power, you may be very cold if you’re waiting for a recovery vehicle.
Inspect your tires
Of course, tires are a vital part of winter driving safety. Checking your tread depth is critical to make sure it is within the legal limit, and also look at the pressures, as grip is affected by both under and over-inflated tires. In cold conditions, air pressure can drop so it is important to keep an eye on this to maintain the optimum footprint in cold, damp or snowy conditions. If your country demands it or not, the fitting of proper winter tires is recommended when the outside temperature starts to drop and weather conditions worsen. Goodyear’s award-winning UltraGrip family of tires offer highly enhanced levels of handling and grip for all types of vehicles in all winter driving conditions. Some Goodyear winter tires are fitted with a TOP (Tread Optimal Performance) Indicator to show the best time to change tires to maintain the best levels of performance.
Adjust your driving
Laurent Colantonio, Goodyear’s Regional Technology Director for Consumer Tires in EMEA said: “Whilst many countries mandate winter tires, we recommend them for any country where the temperature drops below 7c. Winter tires aren’t just snow tires, they improve safety in dry, cold conditions too. In addition to the improved performance, winter tires also reduce stopping distances, and give you better mileage than summer tires in winter months.”
But in addition to choosing the best winter tires, there’s plenty of tips that can make your driving safer and less stressful this winter.
Adjusting your driving and leaving plenty of room to slow down and stop is essential to help prevent accidents. On icy roads, stopping distances can be up to ten times longer, and even in damp or wet weather, traction will be reduced and braking distances increased. Braking gently is also important to prevent a vehicle entering a skid.
Use your gears to help you slow down, as there is less chance of your wheels locking, putting the car into a slide. If you get stuck in snow, use a higher gear to pull away slowly, as pressing hard on the accelerator will spin the wheels and dig the car in further. Above all, keeping your inputs smooth and staying alert to ever-changing road conditions at all times are the important foundations of safe winter driving.
In case you should get stranded, take things like blankets and warm clothing with you. Some snacks and water will also be helpful, as will a shovel to dig yourself out of a snowdrift. To make yourself more visible, a high-vis jacket or vest is essential and a torch is worth keeping in the glovebox.
In some countries, it is a legal requirement to carry items such as a spare bulb kit, a first aid kit, a warning triangle and a high-vis vest at all times, but it makes sense to add them to your car’s winter kit anyway and to check the local laws where you live. Other useful things to add to your winter driving equipment list include an in-car smartphone charger and even a fire extinguisher, to ensure you’re covered for every eventuality. Also leave plenty of time for your journey – harsher winter driving conditions will mean it’s likely it will take longer to get to your destination.