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Top tips for winter driving

Driving in tough winter conditions can be pretty challenging. Snow, ice, rain, hail and even the sun can cause a variety of issues when you’re on the road during the colder months. But not to worry – with our top tips for winter driving, you’ll soon be feeling like king (or queen) of the road again. Buckle up and take on the road in confidence this winter with Europcar.

 

Image by Europcar
Image by Europcar

 

  • If you’re driving in slippery or snowy conditions, you may need to rethink some of your natural driving techniques. Remember, smooth and slow is the way forward – keep steering, braking, accelerating and gear changing controlled. Speed up gently and move to a higher gear as fast as possible. Moving off in second gear can also help you gain traction in difficult conditions.

 

  • Whether it’s rain, snow, fog or wind, keeping your speed down is an obvious safety measure to take in winter. Leaving more space between yourself and the car in front is also imperative – conditions may look fine, but black ice, wet roads and even damp leaves can all cause you to skid

 

Image by Aubrey
Image by Aubrey

 

  • If you do find yourself in a situation where you slide or skid on the road, steer into it rather than pulling the wheel in the opposite direction. This will allow you to regain control of the car.

 

  • We all know how unpredictable the British weather can be, but we have a lot of tools at our disposal nowadays to help us be as prepared as possible. Websites like The Met Office offer stacks of useful information about condition forecasts, whilst smartphone apps can give us real time updates on weather conditions and traffic information.

 

Image by George Hotelling
Image by George Hotelling

 

  • Whether driving your own vehicle or a hire car, double check you are familiar with the location of all the basic functions like indicators (front and back), screen-wash, bonnet latch, horn, wipers and headlights. Make sure you know where your fog light is as well as how to switch on and off your high beams – you don’t want to be fiddling around with them as you’re driving towards oncoming traffic.

 

Image by Europcar
Image by Europcar

 

It’s a great time of year to pick up a van hire and clear the decks before Christmas comes. However, there are a few things to bear in mind when driving a larger vehicle, especially in the colder months:

 

  • Make sure you leave plenty of space between yourself and the vehicle in front as a heavy load like a van can take longer to stop than a lighter car, particularly if it’s icy or wet.

 

  • No matter what vehicle you’re driving, you should stay in as high a gear as possible for the conditions when it’s icy – remember, many vans have six gears.

 

Image by Jeremy Tarling
Image by Jeremy Tarling

 

  • Wherever you’re off to, make sure you leave enough time to de-ice your windscreen and other windows and mirrors properly. Not only is it very difficult and dangerous to drive with poor visibility, it is actually illegal. Use de-icer or luke-warm water to clear the screens as boiling or very hot water can crack the glass – an extra bill you definitely don’t want to be footing this winter.

 

  • The snow might look pretty, but make sure you clear it off the car roof as it can fall down and impair your vision when you start driving. Also, make sure the vehicle lights are free from frost and ice.

 

Image by Europcar
Image by Europcar

 

  • Got a nagging feeling your old faithful set of wheels might let you down this winter? Leave your maintenance nightmares behind and hire a car for those long journeys. Our experts will make sure your rental car is in tip top condition for winter driving, letting you concentrate more on the road and less on that “unknown” light that keeps appearing on the dashboard…

 

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