Winter driving brings “unique set of challenges”

Brian Joss – The tourism board slogan informs us that South Africa is “A world in one country”, and that’s as true of the seasons as it is of the scenery. With this in mind, Tiger Wheel & Tyre (TW&T) is sharing its top winter driving tips for road conditions that range from cold and dry, to icy and even soaking wet.

Motorists are urged to be aware that each new season brings a unique set of challenges to the road and to be especially aware and mindful of this when driving in extreme weather conditions.

Prepare for winter by:  Having your car battery tested and replaced if necessary. Winter places a lot of strain on tired batteries, so don’t get stranded, get a jump on a dying battery and replace it before it lets you down. 1 Get your automotive battery tested for free at your nearest TW&T store.

2 Replacing your windshield wipers – these wearing parts can wear especially fast in the summer thanks to the beating sun, and you want to be prepared for winter rainstorms, especially in the Cape regions, or even the odd snow flurry if you call the mountains home.

3 Checking your tyre pressure after the first cold snap, and regularly after that. Cold weather adversely affects tyre pressure, so be warned, your tyre pressure monitoring system might alert you to a dramatic drop in tyre pressure at the first cold spell.

4 Packing an emergency breakdown kit to keep in the boot. Include a space blanket, water, non-perishable snacks, a torch, and a car cellphone charger.

5 Keeping a spare pair of sunglasses in the cubbyhole. Winter sun is no joke and it can be impossible to drive in its blinding glare. That ugly pair of shades Aunt Mavis gave you is perfect to stow in your car in case you leave your stylish pair at home.

Here are some  top winter driving tips from TW&T:  Driving in ice and snow:

Turn your headlights and fog lights on, engage a lower gear to increase road traction, increase your following distance, drive very slowly, and don’t brake suddenly;  driving in extreme wet conditions: Turn your headlights on, drive slowly and increase your following distance; recovering a slide on ice or in the wet: If your vehicle slides in one direction, don’t over-correct by steering in the opposite direction. Instead, take your foot of the brake and steer lightly in the direction of the slide until the vehicle regains traction, then steer in the opposite direction while gently accelerating.

Above all, be patient and polite on our roads. Life is too short to be either the aggressor or the victim of road rage – winter road conditions can be challenging enough on their own.

CAPTION: Neither snow nor rain … safe driving. Picture: Quickpic

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