Consumer Behaviour Speed

Winter Driving

17th December, 2020 by rvSafe Team
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Wet and wintery conditions affect even the best drivers. Wet roads, heavy fog, rain and hail all make driving more difficult, and at times can turn it deadly, while foggy conditions and dark afternoons reduce visibility to make things worse. However, driving during adverse conditions is unavoidable at times, so here are some tips on mitigating the risks.

Checking Your Vehicle

The best driving in the world will come to naught if a vehicle isn’t well maintained. Regular services to check brakes, windscreen wipers, batteries and lights are all in working order is needed, and don’t forget the tyres.

Tyres are what connects the vehicle to the road, and they should have plenty of tread (no less than 1.5mm). Check for any cracks or uneven wear, but also keep in mind the age of the tyres. As tyres age, the rubber hardens, which can cause traction loss and skidding when conditions are wet.

For best handling and maintenance keep tyres at the recommended pressure. The recommended pressure can vary vehicle to vehicle and is usually listed in the glove box or on a sticker inside the driver’s door jamb.

Drive to Conditions

Wet roads can change a vehicle’s response dramatically.

The braking distance can be almost doubled, so extra space between you and the car in front is needed — some experts recommend a four second gap. Reducing speed and driving in a smoother manner will further help with this as it limits the chances of a vehicle losing traction.

Driving in alpine regions during winter requires extra care. Along with the possibility of extreme weather, drivers can often have to contend with black ice and snow on the road. When driving in these conditions heed weather warnings and avoid sudden braking, turning and acceleration, particularly if a patch of black ice has been hit.

During winter, alpine regions require all vehicles to carry a set of chains. Some resorts, such as Mount Hotham in Victoria, require a specific type of chains, so check ahead of time. Also, before leaving, practice putting on and removing snow chains from the driving wheels of the vehicle (check the manufacturers guidelines).

If in Doubt, Pull Over

In wild conditions visibility can be dramatically reduced. Use your car’s air conditioner to prevent the windscreen from fogging up and avoid high beams when in foggy conditions.

If your car has fog lights use them (really the only time they should be used), but if not use headlights on low beam. However, if you’ve done all of this but still can’t see, find a safe place to pull over, put your hazards lights on and wait it out.

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