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 Winter Driving Tips

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PostSubject: Winter Driving Tips   Fri Aug 19, 2011 1:19 pm

With winter around the corner i thought i would prepare some advice for driving in harsh winter conditions, and help people prepare for the worst, much of this is basic, much is common sense, much is omitted as people think they are invincible, irrespective of what vehicle they drive. Having a 4X4 is no guarantee of anything, last winter proved this as many drivers became stuck for many hours due to other vehicles becoming stuck and blocking the roads, it matters little that you have a 4X4 if lorries, vans, and cars are blocking the road.

First ensure your vehicle is fully serviced, this includes checking the fluids and adding more anti-freeze agents or screen wash to washerswhich will work at lower temperatures, checking wiper blades for damage from frost, and obviously your heating is up to par.

During cold weather it is advisable to get up 10 minutes earlier then normal, more during really bad periods such as snow and icy conditions to allow more time for your journey. Go to your vehicle armed with a drink of tea or coffee and put this in the cup holder, start your engine with the heaters switched OFF, and leave them off, fully clear your vehicle of snow and ice with a scraper and then sit in your vehicle and drink your drink, take at least 5 minutes, longer for older vehicles, then switch on your heater to a medium setting only.
This few minutes gives the engine time to generate some heat do defrost it, if you switch the heater on immediately all you are doing is blowing cold air around and slowing down your engine from generating heat, this 5 minutes of idling allows heat to be generated to defrost the vehicle. Switch on the rear screen heater at this time also, this 5 minutes of idling also allows the battery to replenish some of its charge it has consumed during starting. When clearing your vehicle, particularly of snow, ensure you clean all the snow off, this includes the roof, bonnet, infact the entire vehicle; if you do not this cools your vehicle down and snow blocks airflow to radiators and lights, so spend an extra minute to thoroughly clean it all off. Snow can freeze while travelling and form large sheets of ice, if you brake heavily or corner this can come off in a large sheet and damage your vehicle or injure others, and damage other vehicles and cause an accident.

This assumes you carry the basics such as a good torch and spare batteries, and all the necessary tools you would normally need such as a spare wheel, wheel brace, and a jack.


For Short Journeys:

Carry the correct kit in your vehicle, at the very least you will need some munchies, packs of biscuits and a bottle of water will allow you something to eat and drink if you are held up for a few hours, also ensure you have plenty of fuel on board, a charged mobile phone with plenty of credit, and the correct clothing and kit to keep you warm.
Good boots are a must, forget vanity and fashion, decent boots with good grip on ice and snow are what is needed, a good blanket is great to keep you warm if you are stuck inside your vehicle, and a good coat. Carry a small shovel or dustpan to remove any snow if you get stuck, a small bag of salt or kitty litter as the salt will melt snow and ice around your wheels, and kitty litter will give you traction on ice to get you moving again.

If you are doing longer journeys it is advisable to take extra precautions, this would include the above, but include warm clothing. Warm clothing for such conditions means many thin layers of clothing as opposed to one thick layer, i advise making a pack of clothing up, this would consist of a couple of t shirts and a sweat shirt, a pair of long johns or thermals to go under your trousers, a hat as you lose one third of the heat through your head, spare socks, and a couple of pairs of gloves.
Vacuum packs are now available, these are bags which hold the clothing, you apply a vacuum cleaner to the nozzle and it sucks out all the air and compacts the clothing to a very small size, these can be put in a box in the boot of the vehicle and left all winter, if you don't use them they are there, if you need them you will be glad you have them.
Instead of the biscuits keep a box of cup a soups in the vehicle, and a couple of snack pots which only need hot water adding and a fork or spoon to eat them, and obviously a cup, when you make your morning cuppa and boil the kettle you simply fill a flask with boiling water and put it in your vehicle. If you become stuck for a long period at least you can have something hot to eat, if you have a few tea bags or a small plastic pot with coffee in it you can have a warm drink as well. If you want a drink or snack you need water, this is readily obtained in large plastic bottles, two 2 litre bottles is about the right amount to carry for medium journeys. Alternatively if you have a water filter all you need to do is filter some water and boil it in the kettle, cool it in the fridge and put it into clean bottles.

If you travel for a living and undertake long journeys it is advisable to carry a 12 volt kettle and more water, you can use the water from your flask which will be hot, and simply boil it in a couple of minutes for drinks or snacks, obviously it is advisable to carry more snacks or soups in case you are stuck for a long period of time.

Packing such items is easily done with one of the numerous plastic boxes with sealed lids, just pack everything inside and place the entire box in your boot, put anything like dustpans into plastic bags so if you have to use them you can put them back into your winter box without wetting everything else through.

[b]What To Do If You Get Stuck:[/b]

If you get stuck you should always make a few basic checks, if you become stuck because of an accident this becomes more important, check the vehicle for fluid losses, damage to crucial components, and ensure it is safe to run the engine.

Never leave your vehicle, more people die from leaving their vehicle and trying to walk to a destination, or to get help, many slip on ice, or try to take short cuts in snow which obscures many dangers and have accidents and die from exposure as tey are now stuck.
Call the Police on your mobile and give them your location, inform them you have prepared and have hot food available, warm clothing, and you are fine for many hours if need be, but request they check on you periodically, they will often call you back at certain intervals. Get your box from the boot and place it in a convenient location inside your vehicle, the back seat is fine as items can be spread our a little so you have easy access to them, and remember to switch everything electrical off inside your vehicle to preserve your vehicle battery. If you are in deep, or deepening snow you will need to clear around your exhaust pipe if the snow is higher than it to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, simply dig a trench about 10 feet long and ramp it upwards, this will deflect any exhaust fumes away from the vehicle, and upwards.

Cover yourself with your blanket and recline the drivers seat, this will keep you warmer, and a more relaxing posture slows down your metabolism and keeps you warmer.

Set your mobile phone alarm for 2 hours, set this to go off 5 minutes before the hour and once the alarm goes off you start your engine, run it for about 15 minutes and heat the vehicle back up, with the engine running you can plug your kettle in and have a drink or snack if you feel like one. Never plug the kettle in with the vehicle stopped as it can soon run down your battery, and switch your radio to a local radio station to catch the news and weather on the hour to get local information and updates. This period allows the engine to cool, but not go cold so it is easier to start, gives enough time to boil a kettle, and enough time to replenish the battery, and all without using too much fuel. If you are stuck overnight, or during the day you simply repeat these procedures and run the vehicle for 15 minutes every two hours.

Periodically get out of the vehicle and check the radiator is not blocked with snow, and check your exhaust trench is not filled in with falling or drifting snow.

If you get wet you have spare, dry clothing, use it, being wet is the quickest way to lose body heat.

Does it work? well, i was once stuck for 3 days and i was warm, fed, and watered by following these simple procedures, but i also carried a toilet roll as well.

If you get the vehicle free do not forget to inform the Police you have done so, and are safe.
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PostSubject: Re: Winter Driving Tips   Fri Aug 19, 2011 1:54 pm

"With winter around the corner" affraid

That's it, I'm off to bed!

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PostSubject: Re: Winter Driving Tips   Mon Sep 26, 2011 3:36 am


Very useful tips.
Low Fuel is one of the biggest mistakes I've ever made. When I left work the town snow was only 2 inches deep, 10 mins down the road and the snow was 9 inches deep. Nothing on the road, used up alot of fuel in 4wd getting home. Had enough to get there but had no fuel left to get out of the village back to town where the petrol station was. 4 hour walk there and back....

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PostSubject: Re: Winter Driving Tips   Mon Sep 26, 2011 4:14 am

Some great tips their.
thank you clinking teacups

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PostSubject: Re: Winter Driving Tips   Mon Sep 26, 2011 11:51 am

Its interesting to note how many people around the world die, or suffer serious injuries from being unprepared for winter driving, so here are a few.

Many people suffer from hypothermia due to a lack or preperation, often it is not having warm clothes or even a blanket in a vehicle to maintain their body heat, or a spare set of warm clothing to change into if they get cold and wet.

Leaving a vehicle is the greatest cause of accidents, snow obscures many now hidden hazards and its not uncommon for people to leave a vehicle to seek help and trip or fall, sometimes its just their ego thats bruised, but often it can result in an immobilising injury such as a broken leg or hip, they cannot move and suffer from hypothermia. Many are not found for many days, some not alive. Many hidden hazards cause penetrating injuries, some are quite mild and others can be fatal, and the blood loss does nothing but hinder the body's core temperature.

Dehydration is another issue, many do not carry fluids to drink as they assume they won't get stuck, a simple bottle of water can cure this, but a flask of boiling water and packet soups are even better.

Many serious injuries are sustained by people being hit by other vehicles, and its the reason a space around the vehicle needs clearing, and the top of the vehicle needs to remain visible, Police often deploy helicopters in a sudden weather snap to locate stranded vehicles and log their locations, and warn road clearing crews of their existance and location.

Many vehicles become stranded and no help is forthcoming as the stranded person has insufficient credit on their mobiles, or insufficient charge in their batteries.
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PostSubject: Re: Winter Driving Tips   Tue Oct 11, 2011 3:44 am

& Apply a Silicone based spray to your door seals and door handles. So that when It drops below -10 you can get in to the vehicle with no-minimal hassle.

Over the last few winters the silicone based spray that I have applied from "Winzer Wurth" does not freeze or at least not enough to the point where you cant get in to the vehicle with out ripping your seals apart.

TJ

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PostSubject: Re: Winter Driving Tips   Mon Nov 21, 2011 4:30 am

Had a discussion with a friend who was miss-sold tyres claiming to be snow tyres or winter tyres. He bought a set that included the word "Winter" in their name but upon close inspection the tyre is not listed on the sidewall or website as either M+S or has the designated snow flake symbol.

Here is a few abriviations or icons you need to look out for when buying your tyres complete with explanations:

A/S - All Season.

All season tyres are tyres that are designed to be used at all times of the year. The tread pattern is has more sipes than summer tyres but not as many as an all out winter tyre. AS tyres provide perfectly adequate performance in summer conditions and offer a small amount of winter driving ability. They allow for the use of the same tyres all year round, negating the need for changing from summer to winter tyres. Not so popular in the UK where a summer tyre is generally used all year round. Most AS tyres can be found on 4x4's and some tourer estates.

Here are some examples of A/S tyres.

http://www.generaltire.com/tires/Grabber-UHP
http://www.toyo.co.uk/tire/pattern/proxes-st
http://www.generaltire.com/tires/Grabber-HTS
http://www2.yokohama-online.com/gb/tyre-products-view.php?tyreID=1065

M+S - Mud and Snow Rated.

M+S (Mud and Snow) tyres are those with a tread pattern and sometimes compound specifically designed to perform well in poor road conditions, dealing with more road water, deeper snow and Ice. An M&S tyre will usually have a high negative void ratio in order to achieve this.
Some M+S tyres rely solely on the aggressive tread pattern to achieve this extra performance whilst others will have the addition of a specially designed rubber compound. In general terms this different compound is usually reserved for winter tyres, but most M+S tyres are a blend.

Here are some examples of M+S tyres.

http://www.avontyres.com/4x4/ranger-t
http://www.toyo.co.uk/tire/pattern/open-country-ht
http://www.michelinman.com/tire-selector/category/light-truck/ltx-m-s2/tire-details
http://www.federaltire.com/en/html/pdetail.php?DB=suv&pdline=1&ID=9

Winter Tyres or Snow tyres.

These tyres will have a snow flake chevron stamped on the sidewall of the tyre and will also be listed on the sticker placed on the tyre when bought from new.
Winter tyres remain flexible and grip better when temperatures drop below 7C because they contain a greater amount of natural rubber and silicone. To a ratio generally of 60% silicone and 40% rubber.
Irrespective of differing tread patterns they all have a massive number of tiny lateral grooves called sipes which bite into the snow and ice and grip the road.
A common misconception is that changing to winter tyres will affect your insurance. The AA advises that this isn't the case. Insurers are happy with winter tyres as long as they are professionally fitted and conform to the car manufacturer's tyre specification.
A car fitted with just two winter tyres can actually be more dangerous as it can lead to unbalanced and therefore unsafe handling and so for safety reasons, leading tyre manufacturers recommend only fitting winter tyres in sets of four.

This is the logo of both the M+S Icon and the Winter Tyre approved Snowflake Icon. (Taken of a Michelin LTX M+S tyre):



These are examples of winter tyres.

http://www.federaltire.com/en/html/pdetail.php?DB=winter&pdline=4&ID=42
http://www.michelinman.com/tire-selector/category/winter/pilot-alpin-pa2/tire-details
http://www.nexentireusa.com/tires-21/WinGuard231
http://www.vredestein.co.uk/Banden_Bandgroepen.asp?BandgroepID=2&BandtypeID=13&UsersessionID=55626643
http://www.goodyearwintertyres.co.uk/

You can also get A large variety of All Terrain tyres that will cope with the winter months fine, the usual rule of thumb the deeper, close grouped tread with the most sipes will perform better that the large open shouldered tyres.


From personal experience from living in poorly acceptable areas My personal choice is M+S tyres or all out winter tyres for winter conditions. If you live in citys or towns where the snow or frosts constantly turn to slush and water an All Season tyre will be fine.
Like most 4x4 owners All Terrain tyres are very common and will perform admirably in all but the worst conditions.
Best advice halve you driving speed.

NOTE: Tyre Testing:

The tyre testing process involved to ascertain if a tyre is "snowflake" or Winter rated is a long process that takes lots of things in to consideration.
The icon is recognised worldwide like the M+S icon is not something that can be just placed on a tyre to get more sales or to make the tyre look better than it is. In order for a tyre to be winter rated, A/S or M+S it must past strict tests and regulations.

TJ

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PostSubject: Re: Winter Driving Tips   Mon Nov 21, 2011 8:51 am

If you travel to Europe you should check local laws, because in some countries is illegal to drive without winter tyres/CZ, DE..../.

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PostSubject: Winter Driving Tips   Mon Nov 21, 2011 7:06 pm

some winter driving tips:-

* Avoid driving while you're fatigued. Getting the proper amount of rest before taking on winter weather tasks reduces driving risks.
* Never warm up a vehicle in an enclosed area, such as a garage.
* Make certain your tires are properly inflated.
* Never mix radial tires with other tire types.
* Keep your gas tank at least half full to avoid gas line freeze-up.
* If possible, avoid using your parking brake in cold, rainy and snowy weather.
* Do not use cruise control when driving on any slippery surface (wet, ice, sand).
* Always look and steer where you want to go.
* Use your seat belt every time you get into your vehicle.
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