6 tips to travel the winter roads safely
White, wintery landscapes, red noses and … misery on the road. Here are some tips for those of you who have to cope with the traffic in those circumstances.
We wish you a safe journey!
Here are our winter tips
1. Start briefly
Is your engine struggling? If the motor does not start up easily, do not insist on trying to start it. It taxes the battery too much. A few short attempts allow for the battery to warm up first. Another tip for when the engine does not start is to first switch on the headlights briefly.
2. Do not use the handbrake
In frosty weather, the handbrake might freeze up. It is better to put your car into first gear. It has the same result.
Caution though: do not forget to engage the clutch when driving away again, to avoid the car from suddenly leaping forward.
3. Use winter tyres
Winter tyres reduce the braking distance considerably. From 55m with summer tyres to 23m with winter tyres at a speed of 50km/h! In some European countries, the use of winter tyres is obligatory, with a fine for anyone not using them.
The ideal tread depth of winter tyres is 3 to 4 mm, as compared to 1.6 mm in summer. Also remember to check your tyre pressure regularly. When the temperature drops, the tyre pressure may drop as well, but a tyre that is too soft will be less stable and will have less grip on the road. 2.5 bar is the pressure you are aiming for. In cold temperatures, raise the pressure by 0.2 bar.
4. Adjust your driving behaviour
Slippery roads, limited vision, more traffic: winter brings a lot of obstacles with it. Anticipate on other drivers and avoid sudden movements. Slow down before taking a bend and maintain a constant speed throughout.
5. For those who practice winter sports: use the correct snow chains
Are you taking a winter sports holiday? On some mountain roads it is obligatory to use snow chains, so make sure you have the right size of chains for your tyres. Practice putting them on a few times before you leave, because snow chains that have been put on incorrectly may damage your car considerably.
6. Be prepared
Stay ahead of the weather gods. Keep the number of the roadside assistance on your mobile phone and bring as many fluorescent jackets as there are seats in your car. If you are travelling a long way, bring food and drinks. In case of your vehicle breaking down, warm clothing, blankets, a scraper and a charging cable for your mobile phone may also be useful items to have at hand. Equally, a torch, jumper cables and a towing rope can save you from a lot of trouble.
Do remember to check the local rules and obligations in Europe when you are travelling abroad. You can find more info on this subject on: VAB