Winter can mean extreme changes in temperatures and weather. Whether the fog is so thick you can’t see 2 metres ahead of you or the road is slippery and wet from that rain that has been hanging around for the past week, it is important to take appropriate steps to remain safe during these frosty months, for your safety and for the safety of everyone on the road. Though the winter weather in Brisbane isn’t quite that extreme, it is always better to be safe than sorry.
During both dense fog and wet weather, the overall rule of thumb is to slow down. Rain does not only affect visibility, but it also brings with it many other hazards, such as hydroplaning. Hydroplaning means that the tyres on your car have lost traction to the road and that you are actually sliding on a layer of water. This highly inhibits your ability to stay in control of your car. Speed limit signs state ideal speed for ideal weather, so adjust to this accordingly.
During times of winter weather, such as dense fog and rain, put your headlights on and keep them on low beam. Not only will this improve your vision, but your car will also stand out to other drivers on the road. Try to remember that if you can’t see well, neither can anyone else and drive defensively.
Remember to keep a safe distance from the car in front of you. You should be aiming for approximately four seconds between the both of you. Water or even ice (frost) on the road can mean that it will take double the amount time or longer to slow down. This is also relevant in regards to being prepared for other drivers to do something unexpected. During wet weather, drivers are more likely to swerve to miss puddles, stop to let pedestrians cross the road or slow down abruptly.
It is important that the tires on your car have plenty of tread during winter. If your tyre tread gets below 3mm, the stopping time of your car increases drastically, couple that with wet or icy roads and you won’t be able to stop in an emergency. Tyre tread should be 1.5mm width over the whole tyre. It is easy to forget about tyres and their importance but try to keep in mind that they are the difference between life and death on the road, especially in winter. Our advice is to get them checked out and get new tyres if need be.
It is also important to make sure that your windscreens and windows are clean, both inside and out and that you have water in your windscreen spray. If your windscreen is dirty on the outside and you come into some rain or foggy weather and you do not have water to clean it, it’s almost impossible to see.
During winter, it is wise to keep your demister on when you are in the car. When it’s cold outside and you are warm inside, condensation will start to form and will be a big deterrent to you maintaining an absolute focus on the road and the surroundings. Put the demister on straight away when you get in the car, so you are not looking for it later when you start to lose vision. A dirty or foggy windscreen has been said to double the likelihood of a crash.
To keep your car in perfect working order during the cooler months always keep track of your tyre pressure and their tread, make sure that your coolant is always topped up and the appropriate amount of anti-freeze is added and keep a close eye on your engine oil. Here is how you can check the level of your engine oil. It is also important to make sure that your wiper blades are not worn down and that your power steering fluid is full.
Winter driving requires more care and contemplation then any other time of year. It is important to keep in mind that you are operating machinery that can end yours or someone else’s life and to drive accordingly to adverse weather conditions. Stay alert and focused and never drive when you are tired.