Winter Driving: Keep Your Car on the Road With These 7 Checks

by Emma L. Business consultant


Winter conditions with snow, frost, sleet, and freezing rain bring on a number of challenges, even for experienced drivers. To maximise your vehicle’s ability to take you safely wherever you go, you need to do several things regularly and prepare in advance for a few more. Here’s what you should do. 

Assemble a winter survival kit 

If you drive outside the town regularly, such a kit is the most important thing you can do for your personal safety. Preparing for a “winter breakdown” will make a lot of difference when your car fails, or the driving conditions become impossible. Among other things, you need to pack a working flashlight, road flares, a few blankets, a first-aid kit, a change of clothes in case yours becomes wet, a couple of pairs of gloves, a bag of sand for better traction, and a few packs of high energy snacks. 

Check the coolant and antifreeze levels

When you feel like freezing, your engine is kept running thanks to antifreeze. Without it, the engine wouldn’t be of much use then the mercury plummets below zero. You can buy an engine coolant kit at any car supply store. This kit can tell you instantly if your coolant mix is appropriate - has the right water/antifreeze ratio. Your car owner’s manual also gives instructions for checking the antifreeze levels, and adding more if needed. 


Check the tyre pressure and treads

Your four tyres are the only thing between your car and the frosty road surface, so you want to make sure they are doing their share. Using a simple gauge from an auto store, you can quickly check your tyre pressure. Consult your manual for the correct pressure, which varies with the wheel size and the number of passengers you carry. As with the tread depth, most tyres now have tread wear indicators - when they are flush with the tyre surface, your car’s performance has increasingly dropped, especially in winter.  

Pour winter windscreen fluid

Regular windscreen sprinkles fluid you use in spring, summer, and fall isn’t only useless but can become dangerous during winter. While the fluid itself might not freeze in its tank, although that is possible too when sprayed on the windscreen, it freezes quickly, obstructing your visibility. The winter fluid has a much lower freezing point and even makes it more difficult for ice and snow to set on your windscreen. 

Bonus tip: Australian winter driving

Although there are some regions in Australia that can be affected by heavy rain, fog, and even snow and ice, the Land Down Under is not exactly known as a country that faces snowstorms and freezing temperatures during winter. Don’t be fooled by mild Australian winters, though - the sun is also known to cause many problems with your car. So, if you happen to live in Sydney, one of the sunniest cities in Australia, pay attention to the parts of your car that get more exposed to the sun, like the windscreen. If you notice cracks in the glass, arrange a windscreen replacement in Sydney and have everything fixed by a professional. Also, don’t forget to check the condition of your tyres, as the sun can damage the rubber and cause premature tyre deterioration. 


Invest in a car cover

We’re not talking about indoor car show covers that protect the latest V8 puppies from early sneak peeks, but a tough outdoor weatherproof car cover that protects your four-wheeled friend from the elements all year long. Winter weather can be unpredictable, and a car cover makes sure that your car is safe from anything winter throws at it. These covers protect the paint and windscreen from hail, strong winds and debris, and even harsh sun. Quality car covers take time to remove, so they can be used as a thief deterrent, as well, while in winter, they also protect your car from loose gravel and salty slush that passing cars spray all around. 

Don’t put much trust in AWD

Your car’s all-wheel drive (AWD) is designed to provide enhanced forward traction. It will keep you moving in deep snow as well to climb a steep driveway as you’re reaching your warm ski-resort lodge. Under acceleration, AWD prevents fishtailing, which is when the vehicle with rear-wheel drive loses control of the rear end and begins swerving like a swimming fish. However, not many motorists know that AWD can do little to help the car turn on a snowy road. What actually helps a lot more is a new set of winter tyres. As AWD can’t do anything to help you stop, many drivers overestimate their cornering and breaking powers in snow. 


Don’t turn off the ECS

Electronic stability control (ESC) is the best friend you can have when your car loses grip and starts sliding on ice or snow. One would describe it as if the time has stopped and Lewis Hamilton has taken the wheel for a brief and saved the day. While having ESC is great, its magic is gone if you have worn tyres, keep speeding at 100 km/h on a snowy road, or enter an icy bend too fast. The laws of physics are still more powerful. 

With sub-zero temperatures continuing to paralyze the road traffic, make sure your car can keep on running. While driving discipline is important, another half of winter road safety comes from the preparation and keeping your car in great shape.

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About Emma L. Advanced Pro  Business consultant

3 connections, 0 recommendations, 154 honor points.
Joined APSense since, February 18th, 2016, From Sydney, Australia.

Created on Mar 12th 2021 02:52. Viewed 77 times.


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