When you hear the topic ‘Winter Driving Tips’ most people probably think; it doesn’t snow where I live so it doesn’t matter to me.
Unfortunately, this is the same attitude that has NZ drivers adding to the ever increasing accident statistics each winter. For some of you, snow will actually be a possibility this winter, for others it can be the early evening sun, but the certainty for all New Zealanders this winter is rain. Lots and lots of rain.
So far this year we have already had a storm that cut power to half of Auckland. Who knows what winter yet has in store for us, but you can guarantee there will be heavy and persistent rain. This will then lead to surface flooding, poor visibility, heavy traffic and people making terrible driving decisions.
Of course we know that none of our drivers would ever make a poor driving decision (wink, wink) but there are a few simple things you can do to ensure that when the next drench of rain hits our shores, your vehicle is ready.
You have probably heard this one over and again, but you must have a minimum of 1.5mm tyre tread for your tyres to be legal. Please remember that this is the bare minimum and is only one step away from your car not being road legal. The more tread you have the better when it comes to standard tyres.
The reason tread is so important is as you drive down the road your tyre is the only thing gripping and keeping you connected to the road. On a normal sunny day your tyre will grip the tarseal easily and transport you along. But when it rains heavily a layer of water will sit on the road and with good tyre tread this water will pass through the indents, allowing you to maintain a grip on the road whilst the surface water slips through the grooves.
But if your tread is too low the water below your tyres doesn’t have anywhere to go in the short amount of time which you come upon it at speed. This means your tyre will now sit on top of the water, causing your
vehicle to slide, leading to a loss of control and a high chance of an accident.
Heavy Rain & Poor Visibility
As the saying goes, ‘when it rains, it pours’. Torrential rain is a commonly used term from our weather presenter during the winter months. This type of rain comes on in harrowing waves that cause surface flooding and very poor visibility. One minute you’re stuck behind an old hatchback and beside a towering Ute, the next you’re driving along in a curtain of grey hoping no one slams into your rear.
Our best advice in this situation is to ensure your lights are on, drive slowly and if you really can’t see anything, slowly pull over to the side of the road and wait it out.
One of your best assets for driving in winter is your window wipers - granted heated seats are also a bonus. Every driver needs the ability to cleanly wipe their windscreen without leaving marks or residue that could distort your vision.
Ensure your window wipers are up to scratch, if they aren’t then don’t worry, they are one of the easiest things to change on most vehicles. Simply pop into your franchise dealership, give them the registration and they can source and fit the right blades for you.
It’s a simple task that can save you a lot of hassle this winter. Don’t wait to be caught out in the rain, check them as soon as you can.
Winter Driver Safety Tips
- Drive to the Conditions.
- Check your Tyre Tread.
- Increase your following distance. It can take 3-10 times longer to stop on wet surfaces than on dry roads.
- Check your Window Wipers.
- Avoid quick acceleration, hard braking, and fast turns.
- Drive with your lights on if it’s hard to see, it also helps others see you.
If you have any concerns about driving this winter or simply about the condition of your vehicle then please contact our support team here at ORIX and they can help advise you on the best course of action.