Winter road safety: How to stay safe on the road

Winter is almost here, and this is your annual reminder to winterise your car and your driving. Temperatures drop below freezing in many regions throughout South Africa, and it’s essential to ensure road safety and reliable driving during the colder months.

In addition to preparing your vehicle, adjusting your driving habits is essential for safe winter driving in South Africa. Below are a few of our top tips to help you get prepared for winter road safety. Most wear and tear items are not covered by your car Service Plan, however, having your car serviced on time is important to ensure road safety.

Windscreen Care

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

Check your car's heater

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. 

Tyre tread and pressure

Worn tyres are dangerous in all conditions, but especially 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. 

Inspect your car battery

Inspect the condition of your car's battery because colder temperatures can reduce its effectiveness. Consider replacing an old battery to avoid unexpected breakdowns.

Consistent maintenance with a car Service Plan

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 manage your budget to 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.  

Road Safety: driving during winter

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 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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