As winter approaches and brings cooler temperatures, drivers face various challenges on the road. One of the primary difficulties is dealing with frost on the roads during the mornings. This frost can make the road surfaces slippery and reduce the tire’s grip, leading to increased braking distances and a higher risk of accidents. Additionally, the colder weather often brings more mist or fog, which can reduce visibility and make it harder to see other vehicles or obstacles on the road. Another common issue is driving with the sun low on the horizon, causing glare and making it difficult to see clearly.
To overcome these challenges, there are a few changes drivers can make in their driving habits. Eugene Herbert, the CEO of MasterDrive, provides some helpful tips. These tips may include:
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 where 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. Do not overlook the inside of the window.
- Polarised sunglasses help when driving into 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.
- 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 by lifting your foot off the accelerator.
- Steer in the direction of the skid.
- Adjust your driving in the same way you would when driving during rainy conditions
- Where possible, avoid areas 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 the road and then switch on your emergency lights.