People living in North India must be knowing about the difficulties of driving their cars in heavy fog or snowfall (only at limited areas). In fact, the capital region of Delhi-NCR, that has the maximum density of automobiles across India faces a severe fog issue in winters. So much is the problem, that as soon as winters arrive, we hear news of accidents and pile ups on highways and expressways.
The most prone areas are the Greater Noida- Agra expressway and Gurgaon-Faridabad state highway. To be accurate, people are killed because they are unprepared and overconfident about their driving skills in fog and snowy conditions, each and every winter. And this is why we have compiled a feature serving as a reminder on how to drive properly in the snow.
The following tips and rules are easy to follow and will help you a great deed in the winter days!
1. Slow down and drive smoothly
No matter if you are a seasoned driver or a newbie, this is a no-brainer. If you are driving through dense fog or snow, keep your car at a limited speed, depending on road and traffic. Roads are generally slippery in such days and any abrupt acceleration, braking and turns may cause in wheel spin and ultimately, a skid leading to a collision. A quick lane change is also not advised.
Arrive late than never!
2. Do not tailgate
As discussed above, the traction on the road is much lesser on wet roads than a dry road. Fog and snow lead to less traction on the roads, which means that the distance to stop your vehicle is much longer. Now imagine you are driving close to the bumper of the front car and he/she abruptly stops the car. The longer stopping distance means you will end up touching the rear bumper of the front car, no matter how hard you hit the brakes.
This style of driving is called Tailgating and it often leads to accidents and so, you need to be patient and stay back until it's safe to pass. It's not only you who will be impacted by this accident. The chances of the rear vehicles hitting you from the behind is also higher. This means you end up crashing your car from the front as well as the rear.
3. Use proper indications, lights and defogger
Your car is quipped with wonderful little devices called fog lights, hazard lights, headlights, indicators and defogger. Use them appropriately in such conditions. Always drive with the headlights on and with active fog lights (see, they even have a name to it for such conditions). The hazard lights are visible from a distance and the car coming from behind will know of your presence on the road. While taking a turn, switch off the hazard lights and use the turn signals. Always use defogger to clear the fog accumalated on the windows.
4. Get your car serviced
It's always advisable to keep your car properly serviced and maintained all the time. But in winters, it becomes utterly necessary to get your checked thoroughly checked.
- The windshield should be clean all the time and there must be plenty of windshield washer fluid.
- All the lights, including fog lights should be properly working.
- Brakes should be working properly. Check for the brake fluid and disc lining.
- The tyres should have ample tread and if they are worn out, get a new set of wheels.
- Do not over-inflate the tyres as the car can loose control during hard braking.
- Batteries need to be tested before winters to avoid being stranded in the cold with a car that won't start.
5. Make sure your car is properly equipped
In addition to the regular maintenance, your vehicle should be equipped with some extra items in the trunk or glove box in case of emergency.
- Equip your car with a flashlight and extra batteries
- Get yourself a first aid kit.
- Always have some extra warm clothes, and a blanket.
- If you are driving in snow and ice, keep a pair sunglasses to avoid glare of the sun.
- Always have a charging point for your cell phone in the car.
6. Have enough supplies of food and water
No matter if you daily drive your car or you are going for a long trip, it is advisable to have enough food and water in your car. A jam can happen anytime and you can be stuck in the jam for long amount time. Food and water will come in handy.
7. Pull over or stay home
There's nothing more precious than your life. If at any point during your trip, or even before starting your trip, you feel that the weather is too bad to continue driving, simply stay put. If you are already out and feel like danger, find a safe spot to pull over and wait for the weather to become normal. There is no shame in making the logical decision. Your boss or significant other will understand.