Driving during the winter months is very different from driving at any other time. Snow and ice on the roads mean that driving can be far more dangerous, and combined with the increased darkness due to less daylight, your overall visibility for driving is more likely to be impaired. However, because driving is an essential part of daily life for most people, you can’t just choose not to drive in the winter. Instead of worrying about it though, here are a few tips that will help you become a safer driver in the colder weather.
1. Accelerate and decelerate slowly
Roads are often far slippier in the winter, due to rain, ice, and snow. This means that there will be less friction on the road, so your tyres have less to grip on to. As such, it’s always best to accelerate and decelerate at a slower rate than usual, in order to give your car tyres as much time as possible to generate friction with the road. Accelerating or decelerating too quickly means you are liable to lose control and slide.
2. Increase your distance between cars
In addition, the reduced friction on the roads means that it will take you longer to stop when braking, and this must be factored into your normal driving patterns. While the normal driving distance between cars should be about three seconds, it is advisable to increase this according to the road conditions. If it is raining then leave a gap of six seconds and if there is snow or ice on the road then a difference of up to 10 seconds is advisable to ensure safety.
3. Use winter tyres
The vast majority of cars will accept winter tyres, and these are a great investment, not only for your safety but also for getting around during the cold season. Winter tyres naturally have a larger amount of surface area, meaning that they stay in contact with the road more, get more purchase on the surface and increase the amount of friction generated. Ultimately, this means your car is far more stable on the road, reducing the risk of you sliding, and making your driving experience far more pleasant.
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