Adverse weather conditions can pose serious challenges on the road, and understanding how to navigate them can make all the difference. Here are some crucial tips to help you stay safe while driving in snowy and icy conditions.
1. Respect the Conditions: If It’s Bad, Consider Postponing Your Trip
Before embarking on any journey during winter, assess the weather conditions. If conditions are extremely unfavourable and your trip isn’t urgent, it’s wise to postpone your travel plans. Prioritising your safety is essential.
2. Ensure Proper Tires for the Conditions
Selecting the right tires for winter conditions is critical. Using summer tires in snowy weather is dangerous and can lead to accidents. If you’re driving in snowy areas, consider using winter tires or, if necessary, tire chains for added traction.
3. Downhill Descent Strategy: Utilise Low Gear and Engine Braking
When descending a snow-covered slope, engage a low gear and use engine braking to slow down. This prevents your wheels from locking up when braking, reducing the risk of skidding and sliding on steep hills.
4. Be Aware of Wheel Position and Look Ahead
In icy and snowy driving conditions, always be mindful of where your front wheels are pointing. Looking ahead, anticipating traffic and road conditions can help you make informed driving decisions.
5. Proper Hand Positioning: Quarter to Three on the Steering Wheel
Maintain a quarter-to-three hand position on the steering wheel when cornering. This balanced grip ensures control and responsiveness. Keeping both hands on the wheel as much as possible enhances your ability to react quickly.
6. Adjust Seat Height and Position
Adjust your seat to a height that allows you to see over the steering wheel comfortably. Bringing the seat forward ensures your leg is properly positioned for braking, with a bent knee providing more leverage.
7. Keep the Backrest Upright
While it might be tempting to recline your seat, an upright backrest is essential for maintaining quick reactions. Avoid steering with your entire body by sitting upright, ensuring better control of the vehicle.
8. Consider Advanced Driving Programs
Participating in advanced driving programs, such as the Audi Ice Experience or programs offered at tracks like Taupo and Hampton Downs, can equip you with valuable skills to handle challenging driving conditions and understand your car’s limitations.
9. Always Wear Your Seatbelt
Regardless of the weather, wearing your seatbelt is non-negotiable. Seatbelts significantly enhance your safety in case of accidents, reducing the risk of injury.
Winter driving demands heightened caution and a keen awareness of your surroundings. By following these essential tips, you can navigate snow and ice with confidence, minimising risks and ensuring your safety and the safety of others on the road.