Winter road safety: Car care and driving tips

This winter is expected to be colder than usual with above average rainfall in some parts of South Africa. We’re not sure there’s much you can do to prepare yourself mentally for the cold, but there’s definitely a few things you can do to prepare your car. Read on for MotorHappy’s winter road safety car care tips.

Check the condition of your windscreen wipers and replace them if required. Visibility is always important, but especially in wintery conditions. 

If your car is uncovered during the night, you might find a layer of frost on your windscreen on cold mornings. Use the heater or air conditioner to demist the interior of the car and to help melt the ice. You can also pour cold water over the frost. Don’t use hot water because this could crack the glass. Only start driving once the windows are clear. When you’re driving, your windscreen might fog up if the temperature outside suddenly drops. Turn on your heater and air conditioner to defog the windows. 

Worn tyres are dangerous in all conditions, but especially so in wet and icy weather. Replace your tyres if your treads are less than 1.6mm deep. Tyres are affected by changes in temperature, and improperly inflated tyres impact your car’s ability to brake in time, reduces grip and uses more petrol, too. Check your tyre’s pressure at least every two weeks to ensure they are inflated according to your manufacturer’s guidelines. 

Ensure that your car is running smoothly by keeping up with regular services, as per your manufacturer’s recommendations. When your car is serviced, your car’s battery, lights, oil, brakes, etc. will be inspected. With a Car Service Plan through MotorHappy, you can easily manage your budget so ensure you can afford to service your car as and when needed. A major advantage of a Car Service Plan through MotorHappy is that it comes with free roadside assistance – you can rest assured that should you experience car troubles, you will get help quickly and efficiently.  

Winter weather can be dangerous for motorists. Read these tips to help you stay safe:

  • Watch out for ice on the road. If the weather is below zero, expect icy roads and drive extra carefully, allowing for longer braking distances. Black ice is a thin layer of ice which is almost the exact same colour as the road and is difficult to see. If you hit a patch of black ice, keep your steering wheel straight and maintain your speed. Don’t hit the brakes. Use the gears to slow down, if possible.
  • Remember your lights. With days much shorter, you might find yourself driving to work and back home in the dark. Remember to turn on your car’s lights so you can see and be seen better. 
  • If driving through fog, use your fog lights and not your bright lights. 
  • Try your best to avoid driving during adverse weather conditions such as rainstorms, strong winds, extreme cold, and fog. If you must drive during adverse weather, allow extra time to arrive at your destination so you can drive slowly and defensively. Stay safe!
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