No, it’s not a new celebrity talent show (at least, not yet); it’s our annual reminder of tips and techniques for driving when the road surface gets slippery.
It’s fair to say that this winter has been a relatively mild one around TJS’ vehicle rental depots – so far at least. But with plenty of winter still to go, there remains a high chance that snow and ice will make driving more challenging at some point. If you’re planning on taking one of our hire cars or rental vans out on wintry roads, here are a few things to check.
1. Can you see clearly?
Cold, damp days inevitably lead to fogged-up windscreens. Don’t drive when your view is obstructed and don’t rely on clearing a small patch of windscreen with your hand. When you start the vehicle, switch on the rear window heater (and the front one if your vehicle has one). Then switch the vent position to direct air at the windscreen, turn the heat up, and turn the aircon on full blast.
If your rental vehicle has a ‘Max’ A/C setting or similar, switching it on should do some or all of the above for you. Wait until you can see clearly through all windows before you set off.
2. Wipe your mirrors
Check you can see through mirrors (including your rear view mirror) and give them a wipe if they’re iced up or loaded with condensation. If your vehicle has sensors or cameras, en-sure they are clear of snow, ice and mud, otherwise you could be relying on a sensor that can’t ‘see’ either.
3. Scrape away the snow and ice
If you need to use an ice scraper to clear your windscreen, always scrape in one direction to reduce smearing. If the roof of the car is loaded with snow, clear that too before you set off, otherwise you could find it sliding down and obstructing your view when you brake.
4. Drive safe
In standing snow or icy conditions:
- Pull away in second gear by gently easing off the clutch
- Driving uphill, give yourself plenty of space ahead so you don’t have to brake on the way up. Keep to a steady pace and try to avoid changing up
- Driving downhill, start the descent in a low gear and keep your speed down so you don’t have to brake and risk a skid
- If you do need to use your brakes, go easy
- Remember, stopping distances are up to 10x greater in snow and ice
5. Be prepared
If you’re driving any significant distance or you’ll be taking your hire vehicle out of built up areas, plan ahead if you know snow or ice are forecast.
- Make sure the vehicle has plenty of fuel
- Make sure your phone is fully charged
- Carry a coat, blanket, a snak and a flask of hot drink
- Allow extra time for your journey
Ready to hire your next rental car or van? Talk to TJS now.