Here in Australia we are spared the worst of the winter weather, a lot of us have never even seen snow before. So unless you're living up in the mountains or down in Tasmania, you probably won’t run into ice or snow on the road, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t things to look out for. Here are our top five tips for staying safe and making the most out of your next winter adventure.
Ensure your vehicle is ready for winter by checking and replacing worn out tyres, brake pads or wiper blades. You’ll want these systems working their best to help you deal with whatever winter throws at you, from a sudden downpour to sudden braking.
1. If it’s raining, slow down and leave a larger gap behind the vehicle you're following. It's a good idea to turn on your headlights or fog lights to help you stay visible to other traffic. Take it easy and watch for pools of standing water that could cause aquaplaning.
2. Check to make sure your roadside assistance and comprehensive insurance are up to date before you set off for any big trips, It’s also a good idea to pack some extra warm clothes or a blanket just in case you do run into car trouble on your journey.
3. If you’re travelling to Alpine regions, check the conditions before you head up the mountains and ensure your vehicle is ready for the cold with any necessary Antifreeze and Alpine Diesel. If you need snow chains (most 'proper' 4WDs don't) ensure you know how to fit them so you can get moving again quickly if the conditions require them. There’s nothing fun about kneeling in the snow fighting with ice-cold chains.
4. If you’re travelling somewhere with heavy frost make sure you bring an ice scraper with you, while a credit card will do in a pinch, it’s much easier and faster with the right tools. Resist the temptation to boil the kettle and tip it over the glass, as this could cause your windshield to crack.
By following these tips, you can be sure that you’ll be ready for whatever the winter weather throws at you. The most important tip, just slow down and drive to the conditions. If you are driving to Alpine regions make sure you’re prepared for the worst as the weather can change quickly in these areas, and don’t forget to pack a thermos of hot chocolate!