Now that those of us in the Southern Hemisphere are in the depths of the winter season, it’s more important than ever to be aware of road safety. The changes in temperature and road conditions during the winter, particularly in specific, colder areas, can have a huge impact on the potential dangers you could face on the road. Even your daily commute could be hazardous if you’re not aware of how the seasonal changes can affect your driving. Make sure you’re in the know with these essential tips so you can stay safe all year round.
- Make sure you have good visibility.
Visibility is crucial to safe driving at any time, but in the winter it can become even more important. Heavy rainfall, snow, and storms can all make decent visibility a real struggle, so it’s essential that your windscreen is as clear as possible at all times to keep you aware of what’s going on in the road in front of you. This means de-fogging the windscreen regularly if the car is heating up and causing fog, and calling in car glass repair services if there are any small chips or cracks in your glass, however minor, that could lead to serious visibility problems and safety hazards while you drive.
- Know how to cope in icy conditions.
It’s often best to avoid driving altogether when there’s ice on the roads until the roads have been thoroughly defrosted by the professionals with grit – but if you encounter unexpected icy patches, particularly the dangerous black ice that’s invisible on the road, it’s best to know how to handle the situation so you don’t panic in the moment. The most important thing to remember is to slow down dramatically – even if you feel like you’re crawling along, it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to icy road conditions. Make sure there’s a good stopping distance between your car and the vehicle in front of you, and brake gradually around corners.
- Deal with skidding wisely.
If you’re driving on icy or cold, wet roads and you do find yourself skidding despite your best efforts to slow down and brake carefully, there are still ways to tackle the situation without ending up in a major accident. Resist the urge to put extra pressure on the accelerator and ease up instead – then brake gradually. If the back wheels seem to be slipping or skidding on ice, don’t turn your wheel sharply or you could lose control of the vehicle. Turn the wheel in the direction that your car is skidding to re-gain control, take a deep breath, then move forward slowly and carefully – or pull off to the side of the road if you feel that the conditions are too dangerous.
- Go for a service.
If you’re expecting particularly chilly or treacherous weather conditions in the coming months based on the weather reportsor the usual patterns in your region; now is the best possible time to go for a complete service of your vehicle. The mechanic can sort out any problems that could otherwise leave you stranded on the side of the road in freezing cold conditions. They can make sure that all of the car’s systems are working as they should be.