Last Updated: Thursday, 31 January 2019 17:04
Winter... Snow, rain and ice! With that comes a whole new set of challenges for both your car and your driving skills. The weather can become so unpredictable which is why it is advised that you remain prepared, but this cannot be said for everyone you share the road with. Preparation can make a difference to having to fork out for expensive repair bills, making it home in one piece or not making it home at all. It is recommended that in severe winter conditions such as heavy snow and black ice you only make necessary journeys. Bellow we have complied our tips on how you can keep safe on the road this winter, it's not just snow and ice that can make journeys dangerous but also rain.
Driving in snow
The weather condition requiring the most preparation is of course snow, snow is always unexpected in the UK and we can never really tell how bad the snow will be from one year to the next. The number one tip is to plan your journey with care, keeping at least one back up route in mind incase of road closures. Always ensure to check that your car has sufficient screen wash using a stronger solution for lower temperatures. Make sure you have good vision when driving as snow can obstruct your view if not cleared from the vehicle, clear important areas such as your windows and lights. Always keep your tyre pressures standard! Winter tyres come in great as they are made specifically for lower temperatures so your grip on the road will be much more reliable. When driving behind another vehicle make sure to leave double the distance to the car in front and use a higher gear than normal to cut wheelspin and lower gear when going downhill to so you can stay off the brake. Only gradually apply the break to avoid breaking the grip.
Driving in icy conditions
Icy conditions can mean little to no grip on the roads when driving in all season tyres (standard). Again an option to prevent this is purchasing winter tyres which we sell throughout the year at Philip White Tyres, something to be considered before venturing out. Unfortunately if you live in the country side the smaller roads may not receive as much grit as the main roads so plan your journey and consider your options before driving. Remember that the later you travel throughout the day the less ice there is on the roads. Ice is extremely slippery especially black ice so always be sure to keep your window wash topped and spare tyre in check just incase you skid into a curb which can cause an immediate puncture. Ice can be hard to see so always be sure to travel carefully even when you think there may not be any ice on the roads. If you hit ice try not to stress even when losing grip, most importantly don't hit the brakes! Remove the input that caused the skid, reducing speed even if it's only slightly is a better option than sliding off the road with no control.
Driving in rain
Rain happens a lot in Northern Ireland as we all know so this one is important for anytime of the year really. With heavy downpours roads can become flooded and slippery stopping distances are to be acknowledged at all times in rain. Adjust your speed so you can always stop in the distance you can see to be clear. In wet weather stopping distances are doubled. Spray from cars can often reduce visibility as well as driving with less grip. Large puddles are dangerous and can cause aquaplaning as well as hiding potholes. Its not advisable to drive through a flood as you can't be sure of the depth. In wet conditions be sure that window wipers are working to their maximum ability, no smudges left on the windscreen. Use your dipped headlights for visibility. The legal minimum tyre tread depth for cars in the UK is 1.6mm, in wet weather thread depth grooves help to remove water from the contact patch between your tyres and the road surface. Without adequate tread depth your tyres will not perform well in wet conditions, again aquaplaning is a danger here. This is when your tyres lose contact with the road surface and travel on top of the waters surface. You cannot accelerate, brake and steer which can easily cause an accident.