Nov 1, 2008

Winter Driving Tips

Even the most experienced drivers can find their nerves and skills tested during the harsh winters. The long hours of darkness coupled with chilly winds, fog and snow in some parts making driving difficult. Here are some car driving tips to warm up your winter worries.

Warming Up The Engine

It is extremely vital not to start driving before your engine is warmed up. 60 to 100 seconds is usually ideal time to keep your car idle with the engine on. When the weather is unusually cold, remember to drive at slower speeds for a few km to give your car time to warm up.

Vehicle Maintenance

Make sure your vehicle is properly maintained. Here are a few things that need to be given attention :

Tyre wear and tear become critical once it starts snowing and slush is formed. A chilly morning is ideal time to check your tyre inflation pressure.

Make sure the head-lights and tail-lights are at their functional best. Fog lights are boon in misty conditions. To make the most of fog lights ensure that they are placed at the lower portion of the bumper. Also yellow fog light offers more visibility than white light.

Make sure the windscreen is devoid of multiple scratches and the wiper blades are in good condition. Better visibility is required when there is dark misty weather.

In case of extremely low temperatures, a radiator blind can also be used to make the engine operate at optimum temperatures. Also make sure the coolant concentrate is right before winter sets in or it might end up in frozen radiator.

Check the battery. It takes more power to start a car in cold. Ensure clean, tight connections and proper fluid levels.

Always use the heater with the air conditioner's toggle button turned on 'Fresh air' mode. Set air intake control and air flow control to a well ventilated position. When the car is fogged from inside, the AC can be used for increased defogging action.

In case A/C is non-functional, a slice of raw potato or crushed cigarette tobacco can be scrubbed on the windscreen to avoid misting.

While driving through fog, ensure you drive slowly and keep your eyes trained on the vehicle ahead of you. You should ideally drive at a speed that allows you to stop within the distance of your visibility.


Make sure you know how to use your braking system in all weather and road conditions. Antilock brakes work differently than older braking systems. Consider taking an advanced driving course that teaches emergency driving skills.

Snowy Roads

Snow on a road may be hard-packed and slippery as ice. It can also be rutted and full of hard tracks and gullies. Or it can be smooth and soft. Wet snow can make for slushy roads. Heavy slush can build up in the wheel wells of your vehicle and can affect your ability to steer. Remember, look far ahead as you drive, so you can recognize hazards and have plenty of time to respond. Adjust your driving to the road and weather conditions. Slow down and avoid sudden turns of the steering wheel, and sudden braking and accelerating which could cause a skid.


Be careful when approaching shaded areas, bridges, and overpasses, as these sections of road freeze much sooner in cold weather and stay frozen long after the sun has risen. Watch out for black ice, areas of the road that appear black and shiny, as they can cause your vehicle to suddenly lose traction. Slow down, keep your foot off the brake, and be ready to shift to neutral or step on the clutch as your vehicle crosses these areas.

Snow spray

On snow-covered highways, large trucks and buses can raise or blow snow onto your windshield leading to a sudden loss of visibility. Always drive defensively and leave enough space to avoid their snow spray.

With these things on mind, I hope you will be going to have a safe winter. Enjoy safe and happy driving.

Article Inspired from : zigwheels


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