Winter is coming and the weathermen are already forecasting the worst weather ‘since records began’ and with the added trend of the ‘greenhouse effect’ we’re being taunted with years of bad winters to come. If your were born in the 60’s and 70’s you’ll be rolling your eyes thinking back to ‘when we were kids’ but now we’re big kids and we’ve got 4×4 to play with, a fair swap for the sledge. The first cold snap has hit northern Europe this week and so our minds turn to the white stuff, and our winter kit to keep in the boot “just in case!”
The winter definitely changes people’s perception of us 4×4 drivers, suddenly everybody loves us as we rescue and tow people out of trouble, but how do we ensure we shine in our moment of glory and not let our cars down with human error.
Ensure you’re in the right drive mode for your car, 4wd, diff locks are engaged, do your tyres need deflating to spread the tyres therefore increasing the footprint/tread.
Is there any unnecessary weight that can be off loaded from the car so you glide over the white stuff rather then sink into it? Obviously keep your shovel, high lift jack and waffle boards in your boot but remember those little 4×4 Suziki’s are so light they float like a butterfly across snow.
Smooth and steady is the key, try to avoid any sharp braking or steering to avoid skidding. Braking distances will increase and black ice is always a possibility so slow down by using the vehicles gears.
Drive in a higher gear, for example pull off in 2nd and stay one above throughout, if you’d usually be in 3rd gear for 30 mph drive in 4th, this will keep the wheels turning avoiding over throttling and burying your wheels.
If you do get stuck in the snow and a winch or waffle boards aren’t part of your standard kit, try a plank of wood cable tied horizontally to your tyre, as the wheel turns the wooden plank will allow extra grip and bounce you out of trouble. See how easy it is…. plank power
Snow chains can be an option too if your ‘sticking’ to the back lanes. Check out our review to decide if they are an option worth investing in and remember if you’re traveling across Europe in winter they are required to be carried by law in some countries.
Cast a thought to your fuel too. Many of us just roll onto the forecourt and top up a few £, but it is worth keeping your tank full at this time of year for extra weight on the rear end, to stop condensation inside the tank and if you get stuck you can keep the heater running. If you run a diesel engine you may find this fuel specification information helpful.