How To Drive Your Automatic Car Safely In Winter?
With frosty mornings, icy patches and the potential for driving through snow, winter driving is hazardous. Winter weather can be difficult for your car and safely driving your automatic vehicle through these conditions can be challenging to master. It is always best to avoid driving at all in harsh wintry conditions, not for your own driving, but for other inexperienced winter drivers on the road.
If driving in harsh winter conditions is unavoidable, then here are some helpful hints that can help you to master driving your automatic car during the winter months.
1. Have a survival kit in the car
If driving in harsh conditions must be done, make sure that you are prepared for the worst. During the colder months, it is worth packing a back of supplies that can help you should things take an unfortunate turn, and you are left stranded, or your driving plans fall through. In your car, you should keep;
• A bottle of water
• Non-perishable food
• A mobile phone charger or battery charger
• A blanket and warm clothing (e.g., a fleece)
• A torch
• First aid kit
• De-icer and a shovel.
2. Apply low ratio mode
In an automatic, it is imperative that you do all you can to drive smoothly to stop skidding and wheel spinning. Check if your vehicle has a low-ratio mode or a winter mode (usually determined by a snowflake symbol). During tricky conditions, do not use the sports mode. When driving ensure that manoeuvres are slow and controlled. Sharp steering and braking can lead to increased risk of skidding.
If you’re not sure what mode your vehicle has, check the handbook before undertaking a dangerous drive in snowy or icy conditions.
3. Stuck in snow?
If your automatic vehicle does get stuck in, then try to straighten up the wheel and select the first gear. Using a lower gear can help to increase the traction. So, move down to lowest gear point your automatic can provide and then switch to drive once you are out of the difficult condition.
Switching down to first gear when driving around a bend can also help to stop the vehicle from skidding. Make sure to switch back from overdrive to the usual drive mode in all other conditions though, as this is the most fuel-efficient.
It is important to remember to be safe on the roads during winter. Utilise all the tools your vehicle offers from lights to winter mode to keep you and the vehicle safe in unpleasant conditions.