If you drew the short straw and you’re driving home for Christmas this year a la Chris Rea, then you might want to read on to clue yourself up on all the latest winter driving tips. The colder climate can bring all sorts of hazards to the fore, such as snow, black ice, heavier traffic and reindeer. Ok, perhaps not reindeer, unless you live in Idaho or you’re lucky enough to run into Santa on your Christmas Eve jaunt to your folks. The point is that driving in the winter brings along with it a whole host of new risks that you might encounter. Take a look to discover how you can drive safely this Christmas.
If a blizzard is forecast and you’re due to make a long trip, put it off. If you simply have to drive in poor weather, take it very slowly. Let the people that you’re visiting know that you will be delayed and don’t rush under any circumstances. Snow leads to ice which leads to slippery roads. Some ice you can’t even see. Ensure that you accelerate and decelerate slowly, so no racing through the gears to get up to speed. When you anticipate a traffic light changing to red, give yourself plenty of time to stop and keep a larger than average distance between yourself and the vehicle in front. Tailgating shouldn’t be considered at any time, let alone when it’s treacherous.
If you own a supermini or an older vehicle, you might want to consider renting a more appropriate motor that can cope with the colder conditions. The new Nissan cars such as the Navara and the X-Trail are hardier, more robust and come with the option of four-wheel drive should you need the extra boost when encountering winter conditions. If renting isn’t an option, you could consider public transport rather than putting yourself in danger and venturing out into the cold in a vehicle that’s not fit for purpose.
Cold Weather Tips
Although these tips can seem like common sense, it pays to ensure that you complete the basic checks, especially in cold conditions. Before any long journey, you need to ensure that your oil level is appropriate and that your tyre pressures are optimum. Because of the freezing conditions, it’s wise to have at least half a tank of gas at all times. If you fall below this level, there’s a higher risk of gas freeze-up.
Although you don’t anticipate breaking down or being caught in epic snow drifts, you should still carry with you a flask of hot water, a shovel, a red warning triangle, a blanket and some food. Should the worst happen and you’re stranded for a little while, you will be much more comfortable if you are warm, fed and watered. In the most treacherous conditions, you may have to wait it out for a few hours so you’ll want to stay in your vehicle and not venture outside into hazardous weather.
The chances are that you won’t see even a dusting of snow and you’ll be able to hot foot it to your family in no time. However, it always pays to be prepared to ensure you stay safe when driving this Christmas.