A very harsh snowy winter can test the physical ability of the driver and the mechanical proficiency of the car. The critical weather can be both dangerous and frightening for travelers. The harsh weather, winter storms, sloppy road conditions, and more lead to several crashes and deaths every year. The drivers need to be cautious and should follow all the safety rules while dealing with winter road emergencies.
Safety tips for driving in snow
Prepare the car
The first step is to prepare the vehicle for the harsh weather. Get timely checkups for the car and get it serviced regularly and replace the malfunctioning parts which show above-average levels of wear and tear. Do not skip this part because this can reduce the chances of the car breaking down in icy and cold conditions.
Cleaning the car
With the help of lukewarm water, clean all the windows and the wing mirrors to get rid of snow and also ensure good visibility. Be cautious while pouring lukewarm water, do not pour hot water directly as the rapid temperature difference could cause them to break and crack. Don't forget to clean headlamps and tail lamps. Remove the snow from the roof of the car to prevent it from rolling down in the front of the windscreen under hard braking.
Check all lights including indicators and rear windscreen demister are in working conditions. The car’s AC makes everyone comfortable during the hot summer days while the heater makes the car's cabin warm during cold winter days. Make sure they are functioning properly before driving the car. This heater can turn out to be a lifesaver in case someone gets deserted on road.
Windscreen wipers and washers
The visibility decreases in snowy conditions. The windshield can get messed up from the tyre spray of other vehicles if the roads are covered with wet ice. Therefore, keep the windscreen washer fluid topped up. Mix the concentrated screen wash and water in the correct proportion to make sure it doesn't freeze. Also, replace the wiper blades if they are over six months old and service the motor too.
Check battery and engine oil
The most prominent problem on cold days is that one could experience difficulties in starting the engine. The battery performance decreases with the drop in temperature. If the car batteries are old, immediately replace them and get the checkups for charging systems and cables. Use engine oil and coolant which can withstand lower temperatures in winters.
Brakes and tyres
The stopping distance gets increased on wet snowy roads. With the help of service advisors, check if the brake pads need to be replaced. To ensure smooth operation, get the brake caliper cleaned and greased. Make sure all the tyres including the spare ones are in good condition i.e. have more than the adequate tread, are free from any cuts or damage, and are properly inflated.
If your tyres get easily covered in snow then upgrade the normal tyres to winter tyres. Always cling to the manufacturer's recommended tyre pressure. An overinflated tyre increases the chances of glide while driving on slippery roads. Keep a pair of snow chains in the boot if you are driving through a region that experiences moderate to heavy snowfall.
Behind the wheel
Driving on ice can be a lot trickier because icy and cold conditions make the roads slippery and to find grip, the tyres have to struggle a lot. Also, be cautious that sudden changes in directions or rapid acceleration can lead to loss of control. If the car begins to glide then always steer in the direction of glide. During gliding, stay calm, look where your way is and steer in that direction. When moving from the rest position, always increase the car speed slowly and never excite the motor high in the low gears as this can lead to the spinning of the car. Reduce the car speed as low as possible while driving through dense fog because low visibility makes it difficult to spot hazards.
Prepare for worst scenarios
Make the fuel tank full before going on a drive. Keep blankets, eatables, and water while driving in cold conditions. Bring extra mobile phone batteries so that someone can get help.
Hope these tips will help you drive safely in the snow!