Getting through winter safely

Driving conditions can be very tricky in winter, with rain, ice and snow all conspiring to disrupt any journey you make by car. We’d like to give you a few useful tips to help you get through this season without any worries.

React calmly

When you’re driving on a wet, snow-covered or frosty road surface, make sure you always react in good time and in an even, uniform fashion. Concentrate on everything around you (traffic, the road conditions, etc.). Don’t make any sudden movements, and avoid accelerating too quickly, braking hard or driving too fast. Vehicles may be fitted with all the very latest gadgets in the field of active and passive safety, but the laws of centrifugal force still apply. So adjust your speed and keep a safe distance from the car in front of you.

Handbrake

When a car has been left out in the cold for a number of days without being used, the handbrake can freeze. You should preferably leave the handbrake off but put the car into gear. Take caution when you start driving.

Locked tight

Frozen locks are defrosted using a lock defroster. Keep a lock defroster at home together with the car keys. It won’t be of any help if the locks are frozen up and the lock defroster is in the car — and the car is locked.

Cardboard or scraping

Make sure there’s an ice scraper and a spray can with de-icer in the car. Frozen windows are the last thing you want to find when you’re in a hurry to leave in the morning. Don’t use hot water, as that could cause the windscreen to crack. Leaving the car idling for a while so that it warms up isn’t a good solution either. You should preferably use a special product or a scraper, but a good old-fashioned piece of cardboard also works perfectly well.

In the right direction

You’re best advised to leave the car parked in the direction in which you will be leaving in the morning, since a cold engine does not like too much manoeuvring. Most importanly, don’t head off with less than perfect visibility due to a steamed-up windscreen and/or front windows, but wait until the windows afford you a completely clear view.

Check your tyres

Check the tyre pressure and tyre tread depth; three to four millimeters is the minimum in winter. Drive safely and have winter tyres fitted from mid-October. Summer tyres lose much of their capacity when it gets colder, whereas winter tyres are specially developed for use at cold temperatures and in conditions entailing black ice and snow.

Clean and polish

Give your car a clean and polish before the winter and service it regularly during the winter. Salt for icy roads attacks the chassis, bodywork and tyres. Regular maintenance of your car, according to the maintenance plan, is essential.

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Useful tools and tips