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3 winter driving challenges and how to deal with them

Top up your anti-freeze and check that your tyres are properly inflated throughout the season…

As we start to experience the cooler temperatures of winter, this can also create challenges for drivers – like frost on the roads in the mornings, more mist and driving with sunlight in your eyes. There are ways to combat these challenges by simply making a few changes to your driving. The managing director of MasterDrive, Eugene Herbert, provides some tips.

Sunrise and sunset

  • While MasterDrive recommends always driving with your headlights on, if you do not already do so, switch them on as soon as you leave.
  • Avoid the glare by taking a different route or changing the time that you leave, if possible.
  • Raising your seat can also assist with reducing the glare.
  • Ensure your windscreen is clean inside and out, as the glare can severely reduce visibility when it is dirty.
  • Polarised sunglasses help when driving in the glare.
  • Lower your visor well ahead of time so that you are not suddenly blinded.
  • Slow down. Always change your driving speed to suit the conditions not only the speed limit.

Frost and ice

  • Before winter is in its full throes, top up your anti-freeze and check that your tyres are properly inflated throughout the season.
  • Increase your following distances.
  • Brake more cautiously.
  • Go around corners more slowly.
  • Do not use cruise control when the roads are slippery.
  • In parts of South Africa where roads can become icy, drive with extra caution especially in places where this is prone, such as under bridges.
  • If you do lose control do not panic but gradually slow down.
  • Steer in the direction of the skid.

Mist

  • Adjust your driving in the same way that you would when driving during misty conditions
  • Avoid areas that are prone to mist.
  • Do not switch your lights onto bright as it will reflect off the mist and reduce your visibility even more.
  • Rather use fog lights or low beams.
  • Avoid using your emergency lights when you are still moving. Someone may think that you are stationary when you are not.
  • Avoid sudden lane changes or erratic driving that another driver may not be able to react timeously to.
  • Do not pull over unless you can get well off your road and then switch on your emergency lights.
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