The best tips for winter driving

Aug 21 2019

A black vehicle is equipped with Blizzak LM005 winter tyres and driving over a bridge in the wintertime

Colder temperatures and shorter days all indicate the winter season is about to begin. But getting ready for the colder months requires more planning than simple wardrobe changes. From preparing your vehicle for winter to learning the techniques for driving on icy and snowy roads, this brief guide offers the best tips on how to master your journey, all winter long.

How to prepare your vehicle

Complete a service check

The change in seasons is an excellent reminder to bring your vehicle in for a service check because the fluctuating temperatures can affect different parts. We recommend making an appointment with your local dealer in October to inspect your vehicle’s:

  • Battery
  • Brakes
  • Oil and other fluid levels
  • Windscreen Wipers
  • Headlights
  • Wires, cables and spark plugs
  • Tyres

Completing a vehicle inspection is the first step to detect if there are any issues and resolve them to avoid potential problems during the winter season. While a mechanic needs to get a thorough look at every component of your vehicle, tyres are essential because they have direct contact with the road and can significantly impact your vehicle’s performance in winter. During the inspection process, we recommend asking the mechanic to check whether your tyres have sufficient tread depth to cope with different winter conditions.  

 

Switch to winter tyres

Unless you live in an area with moderate weather year-round, we always recommend switching to winter tyres because they are uniquely designed to keep you safe and confident on the road. 
Compared to a summer or all-season tyre, winter tyres have a special tread pattern and compound that makes it more durable and flexible to handle moderate to extreme amounts of snow, ice and rain. 

Keep in mind: If you’re choosing a winter tyre and your country is part of the European Union (EU), there may be winter tyre regulations you need to follow. These EU regulations give recommended tyre dimensions to ensure the winter tyres you purchase are capable of handling common winter weather conditions in your region. 

A close-up of a Blizzak LM005 tyre with snow packed into the treads which shows the tyre's unique tread pattern.

Be fuel conscious

A close-to-empty fuel tank in the winter is not ideal, as condensation can accumulate in the tank causing fuel to freeze. To prevent engine troubles, always be aware of your vehicle’s fuel levels and make an effort to keep the tank at least half full. 

 

Pack the essentials

Preparing your vehicle for winter is about more than checking the different parts of the vehicle itself — it’s also about making sure you have the right supplies and equipment. Whether you’re commuting to work or embarking on a long-distance trip, it’s best to keep these items in your vehicle, just in case. 

 

Brush up on your winter driving skills

Evaluate the driving conditions

You know your vehicle best and how it performs in the winter. Before heading out, assess the current conditions. In extreme conditions, if you don’t have to drive— don’t. But if you must, check the latest weather reports to know what the potential driving challenges are. 

Clear your vehicle of snow

Don’t forget to thoroughly clean the snow or other debris off your vehicle, including the roof. It helps create more visibility for you and ensures debris will not fall off the roof and harm others on the road. Most importantly, don’t forget to clear your exhaust pipe to prevent dangerous fumes from building up.

Drive slow and keep distance

A winter tyre is the best defence to prevent skidding, but it also helps to respect the speed limit and maintain a reasonable distance from vehicles, (at least three times the amount of distance you would leave on dry roads).

A vehicle equipped with Blizzak LM005 making a turn on a snowy road during nighttime.

Be aware of black ice

Black ice is not black, but a thin, invisible glaze on asphalt. It tends to form when there are fluctuations in temperature and snow melts onto roadways. If you spot black ice, stay calm, slow down and shift to a lower gear. Try to find traction and avoid oversteering your vehicle. Steering should remain smooth and controlled until you drive over the patch.

How to recover from a skid slide

If you drive rather than into an icy patch that causes your vehicle to skid or slide on the road, follow these steps to take control:

  • Take your foot off the gas pedal
  • Steer slowly in the direction you want to go
  • As the vehicle gains traction, slowly apply pressure to the accelerator or brake