5 tips for driving in the snow and ice
Born and bred in Far North Queensland, I did not need to master driving in snow and ice when I was learning to drive.
However, as a P-Plater I distinctly remember the first time I drove south of the Queensland border into NSW and spotted a giant billboard beside the road warning, “Beware: Ice on Roads”.
At the time, my first thought was, “That is ridiculous. Ice goes in drinks, why would anyone put it on the road?”
Approximately 20 kilometres later I came to the shocking realisation that the ice was not put on the road, but rather the entire road had frozen.
I resisted the urge to throw a U-turn and head north to warmth once more.
That was more than 20 years ago and since then I have braved frozen roads, blizzards, snow and ice in Australia and America and along the way I have picked up 5 handy tips to stay safe and get home in one piece.
LOOK INTO THE FUTURE
You really need to look ahead when driving in snow and ice.
Try to anticipate what others will do. If the driver four cars ahead of you hits the brakes, you will see their lights so be prepared to start applying yours.
This is not the weather to have surprises so put down your phone, stop playing with the radio and concentrate.
CRUISING IS FOR THE TROPICS
If you feel like sitting back with the cruise control on and being a steering wheel attendant, then head for warmer weather.
Using cruise control in snow and ice can quickly send the vehicle out of control as it first loses traction and then grabs hold again quickly.
Don’t use cruise control. Be a very active participant in the driving process.
GIVE ME ROOM LOTS OF ROOM
You might want to get cosy when it is cold, but don’t cuddle up to anyone with your car. Leave plenty of room between you and anything you might potentially slide into.
Allow extra room to brake, to turn and to follow behind.
TAKE IT EASY
Don’t rush. Don’t drive like you are fast and furious. Keep it smooth.
Try to roll gently from one point to the next. No fast acceleration, no fast stops, no hard turns.
Imagine there is a very full cup of hot soup with no lid nestled between your thighs . . . now try not to spill it.
PREP BEFORE YOU LEAVE
Remove any distractions before you put it in gear.
Open the chocolate bar wrapper, loosen the lid on your drink bottle, sort the kids out before you enter the traffic.
Check your tyres are suitable and have the correct pressure.
Clean all your windows, make sure your demister is working well and clean your headlights so they shine bright and clear.
Double check that your tail lights, indicators, brake lights and headlights are working so that your fellow drivers on the road can see you clearly.
Turn your lights on. It is just as important to be able to see clearly as it is to be seen clearly.
Winter is on its way and it holds many motoring adventures for you but please use these tips to stay shiny side up out there on the road.
Appropriate tyres will also go a long way in preparing your car for driving in the ice and snow.
Book in with a tyre expert on AutoGuru to make sure your tyres are up to the task or organise a replacement set!
Lara Wilde is the automotive addict showing you how to love your car without getting dirty.
With more than 20 years of driving experience, Lara has made cars her life.
Lara shares her automotive adventures educating and entertaining audiences as a keynote speaker for corporate events and freelance author for a variety of publications.
Driving across the country or on your daily commute to work, Lara can offer you safe, simple, stylish advice for adventures on the road. Look her up on wildedrive.com.