Top Tips on Winter Driving from Toyota.
Not all of us can get behind the wheel of a Toyota Land Cruiser when winter brings freezing conditions to our roads. Snow, ice and other challenging conditions can increase dangers on the road, so to help you stay safe, here are some winter driving tips from Toyota.
On the other hand if you do not drive but travel by bicycle then check out this post – How to cycle comfortably this winter.
Winter Driving Tips
Winter Driving tips for snowy and icy roads.
Driving in the snow or Ice certainly is a challenge and can increase the risk of being involved in an accident.
It is important to know how to be prepared, not just yourself but your car too. With all this and increased risks that you are aware of, these winter driving tips from the team over at Toyota will help you to prepare yourself for driving in snowy and icy conditions.
- If your car has a control setting for snow or ice, use it. This will reduce torque to the driven wheels, reducing the chance of wheel spin.
- Be gentle with the clutch so that power is delivered to the driving wheels more smoothly, reducing the chance of skidding.
- Be gentle with the throttle. In a front-wheel drive car, too much acceleration on a slippery surface will cause understeer, resulting in the car not turning as much as it would with the usual amount of grip. In a rear-wheel drive car, however, too much acceleration will make it oversteer, which is where the rear of the car exaggerates the steering input and slides out.
- If grip is lost and you go into a skid under gentle acceleration, take your foot off the accelerator and steer in the direction of the skid. But if grip is lost under gentle braking, keep steering in the direction that you want to travel and the anti-lock braking system will pulse the braking effort to try and maintain that course.
- Anti-lock braking systems (ABS) are designed to help you both brake and steer at the same time. In order to work effectively the system needs to sense grip on the road surface, so in icy or slippery conditions you should reduce speed and brake gently, keeping your eyes focused on the point you want to reach. Modern car technology is improving all the time; for example, the Rav 4 Hybrid’s electric AWD-i system has been reengineered and enhanced to provide much stronger performance in challenging conditions and secure handling on slippery surfaces. It also has a new automatic limited-slip differential control – Trail Mode – which ensures the best possible grip and control on low-grip surface.
- If you have a crash mitigating system, such as Toyota Safety Sense, try to keep snow and ice off your car’s radar sensors, as blocks to their ‘vision’ will stop them working correctly.
- Consider fitting cold weather tyres, which dramatically improve grip and stability when ambient temperatures are less than seven degrees Celsius. Please note, however, that the principles listed above remain the same whether winter tyres are fitted or not.
You can find a local service station near you with advice for winter tyres by checking on the HiQ Autocare website who can help take care of your car and make sure it is ready for what winter has to throw at you.
You can also check out my Tyre Safety Tips here.
Winter Driving tips for rain and flooded roads.
Heavy and torrential rain can lead to large puddles and flooding which raises the risk when driving. There are a few things to be aware of when driving in heavy rain and flooded areas, not only that may cause accidents but that could cause damage to your vehicle.
Driving through floods and large puddles can cause flooding of the engine and possible damage to the vehicles electrics. These few winter driving tips will help you to be safe and more prepared for driving in the rain and flooded areas.
- Rain reduces your visibility and increases stopping distances, so it’s advisable to double the distance between you and the car in front.
- Use your headlights when visibility is reduced, in accordance with the Highway Code.
- Regularly check your lights and the condition of your windscreen wipers and replace any defective bulbs and blades as necessary.
- Should the steering begin to feel light or unresponsive due to rain or standing water, ease off the accelerator and slow down gradually.
- If the roads are flooded, avoid areas of deep water, which is usually by the kerbs. If you do decide to cross through standing water, drive slowly but keep your engine revs high to avoid stalling. Be aware that bow waves from approaching vehicles can submerge your car to a much deeper level.
- Do not attempt to cross deep water – a car can float in as little as two feet of standing water.
Winter Driving tips for driving in fog.
Driving in foggy conditions doesn’t just mean putting on your Fog lights and thinking that yourself and others around you are safe.
With these foggy winter driving tips it will help you when driving in fog and mist to keep yourself and other road users safe.
- Fog is one of the most dangerous weather conditions as an accident involving one car can quickly escalate to involve others if they are driving too close. Leave a distance of at least three seconds between you and the car in front.
- Use your headlights and fog lights to increase your visibility to others.
- At junctions, wind down your window and listen for traffic.
Winter Driving tips in strong winds.
These safety winter driving tips have been added in, not just to warn you of driving in a sea breeze but strong winds can be very hazardous. Risk of fallen trees, debris in the path of vehicles and yours or other vehicles been blown off course.
Follow these winter driving tips to stay safe whilst driving in strong windy conditions.
- If driving during high winds, watch out for sudden gusts that can occur at any time. particularly on open stretches of road, through gaps in roadside hedges, or when passing across bridges.
- Hold on tightly to the steering wheel and be prepared to correct your course to stay in lane, or to avoid other vehicles and debris blown into your path.