Driving in Winter: Don’t Be in the Dark

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2As the seasons change, motorists have to modify their driving styles and even parts of their cars to try and stay safe on the roads. As we change from summer to autumn and then to winter, the roads will change as will the weather and conditions can go from being perfect to treacherous.

Breakdowns are also much more likely to occur in the autumn and winter with motorists failing to make checks before leaving the house such as topping up the coolant levels and making sure that there is enough oil in the system. If you’ve recently bought a new car, it might be the first winter with this model and no two are ever the same. There are Mazda new cars and Mazda reviews available from dealerships, and you should take the advice of the experts who will all tell you the same thing – make regular checks and drive carefully!

Why is driving in the autumn and winter more difficult? Sure, there is more chance of the roads being wet or covered in snow, but what other problems can arise and how do you prevent them or reduce the risk?

In the UK, the sun is lower in the sky and this can pose issues for drivers who can struggle to see where they’re going. It’s a common occurrence for drivers to put the breaks on when they can’t see where they’re going, but this often results in shunt accidents because the vehicle behind doesn’t expect you to break on an open and straight piece of road. If the sun is low in the sky, make sure that you have some sunglasses or you have a visor that can be lowered to help to improve your visibility.

That word is actually more important than a lot of people think at this time of year. Visibility is regularly reduced because of the shorter days and the poor weather. Rain can make it very difficult to see, and it can also make conditions more difficult to drive in because of spray coming up off the road.

When it snows, it’s yet another major issue for drivers because of the reduced traction. It’s almost instinctive to rev the engine to try and get out of any snow, but the wheel spin that can occur will reduce the amount of control you have on the whole vehicle, which is why many drivers can find themselves slipping on the road, especially when they try to pull away from a standing start. The solution to this issue is to take your foot off the accelerator, and reapply it smoothly – it’s a case of slowly but surely!

Making sure that your tyres have the legal amount of tread isn’t just advisable; it’s a law of the road. Cars that don’t meet the required levels are unlikely to be able to grip the road surface in a way that helps them to stay on the road, and also to brake. There are specific winter tyres available that will help drivers to stay in close contact with the road surface in snowy conditions, providing additional grip so these may be a worthwhile investment if you live in a region that is often affected by the harsh weather.

 

A final tip is to always check your headlights before you leave the house. The chances are that your journey is going to take place in poor or dim light at this time of year, and the poor weather will make it worse and you’re therefore less likely to be seen by other road users. Your headlights aren’t just to help you to see, they’re to help other road users and pedestrians to see you so make sure your lights work, and are on when needed.