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Winter Driving Tips

While driving on ice and snow can be a frustrating experience if you’re not mentally and physically prepared, there are really no deep dark secrets for controlling your vehicle in these difficult circumstances, just plain old common sense and preparation. Following the advice below will help to go some way to keeping you safe on the roads this winter, although it is never a substitute for actual practice, but we all have to start somewhere…


First up ABS, (Anti-lock Break System) – In simplest terms ABS is the system that prevents your wheel from locking up like this. One of the hardest things for ABS to do is stop you on an icy hill. Without ABS this happens, but with the recent ABS engaged. Far less dramatic, but very impressive. ABS stops your wheels slipping when your braking, traction control stops your wheels slipping when you’re driving.

ABS and traction control stop your wheels from sleeping front or back, but ESP stops your car skidding to the side. Less than 1% of drivers know how ESP works, but I think it should be fitted on all cars.

Clear All Ice And Snow From Your Car

It is critical to clear all ice and snow from your car including the roof. Snow from your roof will quickly obscure your rear window, and when you drive large blocks of snow can obscure the vision of drivers beside and behind you. To steer smoothly and directly place your hands at the 2 and 9 o’clock positions of the steering wheel. Keeping your hand on opposite sides of the steering wheel allows you to steer through corners efficiently and precisely.

Don’t Deflate Your Tires

Do not attempt to deflate your tires to gain a larger surface patch, because this will only lessen the performance of your tires. Only a properly in fated tire offers optimumgrip. Also remember tire pressure can change according to outside temperatures. Tire pressure drops 1 PSI for every 10 degree drop in temperature. Also check your tire pressure regularly to ensure proper inflation.

This is especially important in late autumn, and early winter as temperatures begin to drop.

Keep Your Speed and Your Distance

The number one rule of winter driving is to adjust your speed to current conditions. These conditions include the type of tire, road surface, visibility, vehicle type/weight, and your driving ability. With the tracking controls and stability systems in most care many people become over confident or simply complacent. These systems can help drivers by alerting them to dangers or correcting small mistakes, but they can’t overcome the laws of physics. If your vehicle is equipped with standard breaks then the most effective method to stop is the pumping technique. Most drivers are aware of this process, but lack knowledge of the proper technique.

Speed really can kill, doubly so when roads are slippery and icy, if the conditions are bleak, slow down and take your time, it might just save your life.

Manuel is an experienced driving instructor from Camden England. If you would like to take an advanced driving course this winter to brush up on your skills, why not stop by at especially useful for younger, newer drivers.