Get to grips with winter driving

Oct 28 2019

Blizzak tyres on a car driving on winter roads

With colder, darker and wetter weather just around the corner, now is the perfect time to make sure you’re prepared for what’s to come. After all, we can’t always stay at home – no matter how tempting.

Safety is always a priority for us at Bridgestone, which is why we want to ensure that you’re equipped to keep going and handle whatever conditions appear on your journey. So, we’ve collated our top tips to improve the stability and performance of your vehicle as you hit the roads this winter.

Read on to find out how to stay safe and in control when navigating challenging conditions in the months to come…

Why winterize your tyres?

Careful and safe driving is important year-round. But winter driving, with its greater road challenges, requires some extra planning – and grip.

The number one thing to consider before getting behind the wheel? Tyres.

Given that they’re the only part of the vehicle that’s in contact with the road, tyres are just as important as wearing a seatbelt when it comes to safety.

Winter tyres, such as our Blizzak range, are specifically designed to deliver strong grip and braking performance in challenging weather conditions. They slash braking distance, improve traction and hold onto the road far better. Here Bridgestone’s innovative engineering and design has been taken to the next level with our latest, award-winning tyre, the Blizzak LM005.

Made with Bridgestone’s state-of the-art Nano Pro-tech™ compound, the Blizzak LM005 is a winter tyre that offers drivers outstanding control. The unique tread design enables an enhanced grip on the road’s surface, which gives it outstanding wet performance – one of the most common challenging road conditions faced during winter.

Shifting gears

Tyres sorted, you’ll now need to make sure you’re fully prepped for the journey ahead. How? By performing regular checks before and after you get behind the wheel. According to Wolfgang Müller, Chief Instructor for Mercedes-Benz Driving Events, and a three-time participant in the Paris-Dakar Rally with over 20 years of experience as an instructor, adopting safe driving behaviours is key to ensuring a smoother ride in bad weather.

Müller sat down with us to share more of his top winter driving tips:

Scan the road

“This is something that neither young nor experienced drivers do particularly well,” says Müller. “They don’t look at what’s coming up, or at what traffic further along the road might be doing.”

To stay alert at all times he suggests drivers also make sure to never forget to check rear-view mirrors, and always use headlights when visibility is reduced.

Prioritise regular check-ups

Drivers should also be performing checks frequently. That means checking fuel levels, the battery, lights, hand brake and foot brake.
Müller also stresses the importance of taking proper care of your tyres. He recommends drivers make these simple, quick checks: looking for irregular wear, damage, splits and cracks in the tyres, and ensuring your tyres have a tread depth of at least 4mm (they need to be thicker to handle wet, icy, and snowy conditions).

“It barely takes a moment,” he says, adding that drivers should also make sure to check their tyres for foreign objects such as stones that are caught in the grip or excessive build-up of leaves, mud or road grime.

Check tyre pressure

For every 5°C that the weather drops, a tyre will lose 1-2 psi of air pressure, which affects both safety and fuel consumption. This means that it’s very important to keep an eye on your tyre pressure in the colder months.

As Müller explains: “With the right pressure, you improve your grip, reduce your braking distance, improve handling, help the vehicle to perform better in all conditions – especially wet, slippery and winter conditions – and you lower the chance of tyre blow-outs and punctures. At the same time, it increases the lifespan of your tyres and reduces your fuel consumption.”

Plus, think of the holiday commute. Extra baggage, such as a full ski box on the roof of your vehicle, will place more pressure on your tyres. Yet another reason drivers’ need to make sure to keep their tyres within the recommended pounds per square inch (PSI) to maintain traction, handling and durability.

Prepare for the (slippery) road ahead

Don’t get left out in the cold this winter; reduce the risk of an accident or unnecessary repair bill by making sure that your vehicle is fully prepared and properly maintained for a smoother, safer journey, no matter how harsh the weather gets.