Watch your Wheels this Winter

Driving in the winter comes with even more responsibility than driving any other time of year. As the country falls into its annual freeze, we are back to throwing water over our windscreens and waiting for the heating to start working.

If you drive to college every morning, you will need to set your alarm just a bit earlier. This allows you time to properly defrost your car. Make sure that there is no ice on any of your windows or mirrors before you take off. Yes, it is a long, slow process but there are enough hazards for drivers to worry about in icy weather.

Usually, main roads will be gritted the night before but if you are unsure if you are driving on ice or not, there are a few things to look out for. If you can no longer hear the noise from driving on a wet road you could be on ice. If the steering becomes lighter, you are driving on slippery road conditions. To avoid skidding, avoid harsh acceleration and braking or abrupt downward gear changes.

Rather than braking, you can change down gears to slow your car down. However, be aware that when changing gears, the car may speed up and the tyres may not have enough grip to do that.

In the worst case scenario if you do skid, do not brake. Ease off the brake or the accelerator. By using the clutch this stops the tyres from engine braking and instead they can be used for steering. Make sure you don not over correct a skid, keep the front wheels pointing where you want to go.

Be safe drivers this winter.


Bronwyn O’Neill

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