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Driving Guide - Top 5 Tips on How to Drive Safe in Winters

Snapshot: All that snowfall and the cold weather push the driver and car to their limits and test their abilities. To make sure things don’t end up badly, it is advisable to be prepared in advance and follow certain precautions during this season.

In most parts of our country, we don’t see very bad winters. In fact, the winters are rather enjoyable as the temperature doesn’t really drop below 5-6 degrees in most regions. The only problem in such areas is cold starting and the fog. Then there are some areas where the temperature floats below zero for a large part of the year and things get even worse during winters. All that snowfall and the cold weather push the driver and car to their limits and test their abilities. To make sure things don’t end up badly, it is advisable to be prepared in advance and follow certain precautions during this season. We give you some tips to survive the winters in areas where it snows and also in areas where it gets chilly and foggy.

Service
It is advisable to get your car serviced before the season starts. Winters are tough for your car engine so your car is anywhere near its service period, get it done before the start of winters. Fresh engine oil refreshes your car allowing it to run smoother. You don’t want to cover those snow laden miles with an engine that is strained due to bad engine oil. Moreover a service would fix whatever is wrong with your car before you push it to its limits. 

Tyre Pressure
People tend to ignore this factor but it plays a very important role. If it has been a while that you checked the tyre pressure, you should do so when it starts to get cold. This is because in summers the air isn’t very dense and thus by the time winters arrive, the same mass of air would become denser and won’t exert enough pressure. Of course we don’t need to tell you that your tyres should be in a healthy state without any unusual wear. They should also be the right kind of tyres for the season and not some high performance tyres that would fail miserably on snow.

Electronics
Make sure that all the electronics on your car are working fine. This includes all the lights including hazard lights, climate control, blowers, fuses and battery. Defoggers play a very important role during the winters. Make sure the defoggers on your car are working fine. Old batteries might lose their ability to retain charge which might add to your troubles in winters. A battery which is working fine in summers might not work in winters because batteries lose power with drop in temperature. Moreover engines might take longer to start during winters so you are going to need more charge on the battery. If you have any doubts about the health of your battery, replace the battery right away.

Cooling System
Make sure the coolant in your car is in the right state. It should have to right amount of antifreeze which increases its heat carrying capacity and also reduces its freezing point. A 50-50 mixture of coolant and water is recommended for a low freezing point. Just in case you plan on using 100 percent coolant, it would have higher freezing point and less heat carrying capacity as compared to the mixture. The antifreeze that you add in the cooling water also keeps the system from rusting. It has got rust inhibitors that keep the system safe. The coolant loses its ability to prevent rusting over time and that is why you need to replace the entire coolant at recommended intervals. This would also remove any dirt or rust that might clog up the system. There are different types of coolants available in the market. Make sure you use the one recommended by your manufacturer and not anything else. Make sure you check the cooling system for leaks and fix them before you replace the coolant.

Windscreen Wipers & Washer 
Windscreen wipers play a very important role round the year. The rubber blades tend to harden with time and are not as effective. Replace them right away to ensure smooth operation and prevent any scratches on windscreen. Also make sure that the motors are working fine and the operation is smooth. Now there are winter wipers available which prevent the ice from collecting on the blade but make sure you switch back to the usual blades as soon as the winters go away. If you live in an area where it snows a lot, make it a habit to turn off the wipers before you turn off the car. This would allow the wiper to go back to its rest position before the ignition is cut out. The wiper might get stuck in its place due to snow overnight and it might damage the motor trying to get back to its rest position.

In extreme cold, the windscreen washer fluid might freeze. Make sure you add some concentrate to drop the freezing point of the fluid. Also ensure that there is plenty of washer fluid as you might end up using a lot in keeping the windscreen clean while driving.

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