Driving for winter conditions

by Anonymous Author

After the recent changeable weather and an icy snap, it looks like winter is almost here, so it is important to drive to the winter conditions.

One problem in winter is sunstrike. Sunstrike can occur at any time of the day, but is most likely during sunrise and sunset in the winter months.

This is the time when the sun can hit your windscreen at a low angle. It can happen unexpectedly, like when I got caught out recently turning right at the Rolleston traffic lights when the sun bounced off my side mirror.

Another area I have become familiar with sunstrike is at the rail crossing just west of Kirwee. I am sure many of our readers will have places that they are now mindful of and can share with others.

Here are a few tips:

• Always keep your windscreen clean and clear inside and out

• Take note of the areas that are affected on your usual trips and reduce speed if needed. Tell other people about these places

• Use your sun shade even if you are not driving into the sun, particularly n the mornings and early evenings Another problem in winter is fog. Fog occurs generally on fine mornings when there has been rain the night before. It can also be found in thick patches and reduces visibility by 50%. 

Easy ways to make driving in fog safer:

• Drive with your lights on dip, not full beam as the light reflects off the fog, making it harder to see

• Reduce your speed

• Increase your following distances between you and the vehicle in front

• Don’t pass if you cannot see enough clear road ahead of you 

• It is best not to assume all drivers will have their lights on

Make sure your car is ready for the winter. It doesn’t take long to give your car a quick safety check, which we now refer to this as giving your car a TWIRL:

T = Tyres; W = Windscreen, wipers and mirrors; I = Indicators; R = Rust; L = Lights.

When you are driving you can also check:

• Brakes

• Exhaust

• Suspension and steering

• Noise

By doing these checks regularly it becomes easier to remedy any problems earlier and be able to get it to an expert for attention if needed.