Hacks and tips for winter driving

Winter’s here in full force and it’s not only the dark, cold mornings that make commuting harder than in the glorious summer months. There are quite a few dangers associated with driving in the winter, like slippery roads, reduced visibility, and vehicle maintenance issues (colder temperatures exacerbate existing problems with your vehicle).

Try these hacks to beat the winter chills.

Socks

When you park your vehicle for the night, remember to lift your wipers and cover them with socks to prevent them from freezing to the windscreen.

Vinegar

Spray your windscreen with vinegar when you park your vehicle at night to keep ice from forming.

Plastic bags

If you park your vehicle outside, cover your side mirrors with a plastic bag and a rubber band at night to keep them frost-free. Just remember to take the bags off before you leave and to recycle them in spring.

Carpet

If you park outside and your windscreen window freezes overnight, keep an old carpet or blanket in your vehicle and cover your windscreen with it. You can also use this to protect your vehicle against hail.

Gift card

If your window is frozen, scrape the ice off with an old gift card or membership card.

Shaving cream

Prevent your windows from steaming up, by coating the windows with (cheap) shaving cream and wiping it off. Shaving cream contains the same ingredients as defoggers.

Cat litter

Defog your vehicle by keeping socks filled with super absorbent cat litter in your vehicle. Cat litter will absorb the moisture fogging up the windows.

Potting soil

Keep your vehicle from slipping on the wet and icy roads by putting a 10 kg bag of potting soil in your boot for extra weight.

Wax

The next time you wash your vehicle, remember to add a coat of strong wax. This will keep rust at bay and decrease the amount of ice forming on your vehicle.

Remember these tips to stay safe on these cold and dark days.

Antifreeze
Antifreeze is a liquid which lowers the freezing point of a liquid, allowing your vehicle to operate within normal temperature ranges. Make sure the level is topped up regularly for optimal performance.

Battery
Your battery might be more temperamental in the winter months as it needs more power to start a cold engine. Top up the battery’s water level with distilled water and wash the terminals with warm soapy water.

Windscreen and wipers 
If your vehicle stays outside and is covered in frost in the morning, you should not rinse the windscreen with warm water as this could crack it. Also, ensure your windscreen wipers are in good condition. 

Lights
Early morning travelling means more travelling in the dark, so ensure your lights are in good, working order. Also, by cleaning your lights with toothpaste they’ll be extra bright, so you’ll see better.

Driving methods

As nights are longer during winter and the roads might be wet due to rain, snow and mist, be sure to drive slower and increase your following distance.

Chances

The cliché says it’s better to arrive late than never, and it’s right. Driving in cold, dark or wet conditions are very dangerous. So, before you set out, have a look at the weather, especially if you have to travel long distances. If the weather is bad, postpone your meeting.

Rest

When you’re tired, your reaction time is slower; when something suddenly goes wrong, you might not respond quick enough or you might make the wrong decision. So, make sure you get enough rest this winter.

Clothing

Keep extra winter clothes in your vehicle. This way, if your vehicle breaks down, you’ll be able to keep warm while waiting for the emergency services.

Whether you are driving in the cold or the dark, Netstar is your partner on the road – keeping you safe and sound everywhere you go. Give us a call on 0860 12 24 36 or visit www.netstar.co.za to see how we can help you.