How to keep cool be­hind the wheel this win­ter

Macclesfield Express - - YOUR PICTURES -

THIS week’s tips from the IAM’s di­rec­tor of stan­dards, Mark Lewis, are about driv­ing safely in frost and ice.

With tem­per­a­tures near freez­ing, here’s how you can en­sure your jour­ney is a safe one for the road.

Make sure you have cleared your win­dows and side mir­rors be­fore start­ing your jour­ney and use the heater set­tings to re­move mist and con­den­sa­tion.

Avoid us­ing hot wa­ter to pour over your wind­screen as it’s more than likely that it will freeze up again. Never ap­ply heat to a door lock as most mod­ern locks now have plas­tic com­po­nents.

Keep an eye on your tyres. The le­gal min­i­mum tread depth should be at 1.6mm – but for safe travel you should not let the depth go below 3mm. What­ever you do, avoid trav­el­ling with worn tyres at all costs as this will in­crease the like­li­hood of your car skid­ding. If you can af­ford them, win­ter tyres do of­fer a real grip ad­van­tage.

If you’re driv­ing a man­ual ve­hi­cle, avoid us­ing high revs and set off gen­tly in se­cond gear. This will im­prove con­trol and re­duce the risk of wheel spin. If you’re driv­ing an au­to­matic ve­hi­cle, se­lect the ‘win­ter’ mode, (if there is one), which will au­to­mat­i­cally lock out first gear and re­duce the risk of wheel spin – if un­sure, re­fer to your hand­book for more ad­vice.

If your car loses grip you should take your foot off the ac­cel­er­a­tor and point the front wheels in the di­rec­tion you want them to go. All steer­ing and brak­ing in­puts must be as gen­tle as pos­si­ble in icy con­di­tions.

Front-wheel-drive ve­hi­cles are gen­er­ally bet­ter in icy con­di­tions, but if your car is a rear-wheel-drive al­ways take it ex­tra slow and steady when chang­ing di­rec­tion.

In­crease the dis­tance be­tween you and the ve­hi­cle in front, es­pe­cially in slip­pery con­di­tions. The same ap­plies for when you’re ap­proach­ing a junc­tion or a sharp bend – drive at a steady speed that al­lows you to stop well within the avail­able dis­tance.

Mark said: “Even when frost thaws, ice will stay around ar­eas that are of­ten shaded or near bridges that are ex­posed to wind-chill. Con­sider how you drive through th­ese mi­cro-cli­mates and be pre­pared to slow down if you need to.

“If road con­di­tions are too slip­pery, sim­ply avoid start­ing your jour­ney.”

Fol­low the up­dates on Twit­ter #wheelsin­win­ter

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