Winter seasons are characterized by freezing temperatures, strong winds, shorter days, longer nights, and snowfalls. These conditions make it challenging for even experienced drivers and sophisticated vehicles to navigate through the road. The alarming rate at which cars crash on foggy, icy roads can be frightening, which could make you resolve to curl at the comfort of your home and avoid the drive. You can stay safe with good planning and preparation as long as you make necessary adjustments by changing how you drive and plan the journey. This article discusses tips to help you drive safely by preparing yourself and the vehicle during winter and still having a blast.
1. Prepare your Vehicle
During winter seasons, minor issues can escalate to significant threats, jeopardizing your safety and damaging the car. It would help if you visited a garage to ensure you get a thorough check-up of your vehicle and have it serviced to resolve any faults before hitting the road. During servicing, ensure your brakes, tires, windscreen wipers, car battery, lights, and car fluid are in optimal condition when preparing for the icy weather. The battery is something most travelers fail to consider, but you should because it loses charge quickly during cold weather. You can replace it before embarking on your journey if it has been operational for some time; otherwise, your car might come to a halt along the journey. Replace any defective bulbs to ensure all exterior lights are functional.
The engine tends to block or crack in cold weather due to freezing temperatures. However, you can remedy this situation by replacing the coolant mixed with antifreeze and water in equal portions. Ensure you keep your gas tank full so that you do not run out of gas if you allow the engine to keep running to provide warmth along the journey. This is important because running out of gas along icy roads can be challenging; with gas stations probably far away, thus keeping your tank full will protect you from such misfortunes.
2. Prepare Yourself for Winter Drive
Your ultimate goal is to reach your destination safely, which is why it’s imperative to learn essential driving habits. You should know and obey the speed limit of the road you will use. Since winter has wet, icy roads, you do well to maintain a slow driving pace. You want to keep focused on the road with minimum distractions while on the wheel; otherwise, you could ruin the journey. Get enough sleep and avoid alcohol the night before your escapade to ensure you are alert on the wheels.
3. Find the Right Tires
In some countries, it is mandatory to adjust the tires during the winter season to ensure road safety for everyone. These tires are made with a higher natural rubber Content-A property that enables them to maintain softness during cold weather and better grip slippery surfaces. Winter tires also make navigating rainy and snowy roads easier than conventional tires made from hard compounds. If you have been planning for this journey, you could invest in quality winter tires before the winter season kicks in because they are durable, flexible, and cost-effective.
4. Pack the Essential
When preparing for winter travel, you should be ready for any eventuality along the road. You want to pack items that will enhance your drive and make it fun. Warm clothes are a vital part of the essentials in your bag. You also want to carry a warm drink and snacks to fight hunger pangs associated with cold weather, helping you keep warm and energized. Ensure your phone is fully charged and you have a backup to assist you in case you encounter a breakdown to ask for assistance. Also, ensure you pack the following essential items: a torch, warm blanket, ice-scraper, de-icer, emergency triangle, and spade.
5. Allow Time Before your Journey
Winter is often characterized by bad weather conditions, such as darkness, fog, snow, and rain which can affect your visibility as you drive. The strong winds and ice can make it difficult to control the vehicle, underscoring the need to wait for the weather to clear. Allowing some time to pass before you commence the journey will give room for your car windows to demystify and de-ice, thus promoting clarity and minimizing accidents. You could run the engine to make the demystification faster from the engine heat, removing all the ice and snow. This method is successful as using a good de-icer and ice-scraper tools. It is good to confirm the weather conditions of your planned route to ensure that the snowfall and ice are manageable, with no extreme conditions. If not, you can delay your journey to another convenient time for optimal safety.
6. Adapt for Snow and Ice
Ice and snow on the road during winter can be hazardous and cause problems for a smooth ride. If you should get safely to your destination, you need to drive at a slower pace; otherwise, you are likely to be stalled by accidents. In an unfortunate event where your car starts to skid on the icy road, switch to a lower gear to get added balance and give your vehicle more control. Since visibility problems are a common winter issue, ensure your windscreen is completely clear. The vehicle’s headlamps should be on, giving you more clarity on what is ahead despite the darkness. Do not panic if your car veers off the direction you want to go; instead, slow down as you slowly bring it back to control to avoid creating more problems using sudden maneuvers. If you realize that your tires are not making any noise, it indicates that you are on icy roads. You want to go slower when you hit the ice or divert to a safer path, especially if your tires are not new. Google maps will also be your perfect companion during this time.
7. Keep your Vehicle Well Ventilated
The temperature and moisture levels outside and inside the vehicle promote condensation during freezing winter conditions. The warm air you exhale while driving in the cold weather condenses as mist on the inside of the glass window. This can affect your visibility; therefore, you should slightly open the windows to allow fresh air in. Ensure your car heater is in good condition as it will come in handy in regulating the vehicle’s temperature. You can also turn on the AC to heat your car to help clear up condensation builds in the car. However, you should avoid overheating your vehicle as it can cause drowsiness making you lose focus on the road. With good fresh air, you are sure to navigate through the stormy weather to your desired destination.
8. Know How to Tackle Flooded Roads
The rains during the winter months are a common phenomenon, leading to flooded roads. It is good to keep abreast with weather forecast news as this will help you know which roads are passable and which ones are flooded along the route you intend to take. If you learn that all roads along your way are flooded, it is best to postpone the journey or use another safer path. Floods have caused some horrific accidents, and you do not want to take chances with the lives of your loved ones by testing your car’s strength in the floods. This means that if you encounter a flooded section along your journey, you should avoid trying its depth with your vehicle since you could damage the engine and stall the car in the pool of water. If the water is not deep, you should drive the car slowly past the flooded region and when you come out, remember to press your brakes and dry off your tires.
9. Carry Valid Documents of Vehicle Registration and Insurance
Human beings cannot predict unforeseen events where they are traveling to. You should be prepared for any eventuality of the road, and having valid documents may come in handy should you be at loggerhead with the law. Winter months are also characterized by accidents, even among experienced drivers. Having these documents with you will prove car ownership and make it easier to contact your insurance company.
10. Know When to Use Fog Light
Fog is another phenomenon you expect to encounter during your winter travel, causing darkness and impaired vision even during the day. Most modern vehicles are fitted with fog lights to help counter the winter conditions and enhance your visibility. If your car is not equipped with fog lights, ensure these are functional, or you could use beam lights to improve clarity. Fog lights are generally brighter and can affect other drivers’ visibility; hence it’s good to turn them off once the fogginess improves. Remember to follow traffic rules, such as keeping a safe distance between your vehicle and the one in front to avoid ramming on the front car on emergency brakes. You want to exercise caution during foggy weather by driving slowly to avoid accidents and enjoy your ride.
Enjoying Your Winter Drive with Shariot Car-sharing and Rental Services
Singaporeans who want to travel during this holiday and wonder where to get a car should not worry anymore. Our car rental services allow you to book your journey in advance with a car model of your choice. Our vehicles are all-weather, enabling you to succeed in planning and executing your holiday plans. Winter or no winter, we aim to provide an affordable and comfortable car-sharing platform throughout the Island.