Not all of us can get behind the wheel of a Toyota Land Cruiser when winter brings freezing conditions to our roads. Snow, ice and other challenging conditions increase dangers on the road, so to help you stay safe, here are some winter driving tips that Toyota have suggested:
Tips for snowy and icy roads
- Use your car control setting for snow or ice. This will reduce torque to the driven wheels, reducing the chance of wheelspin.
- In a manual car, be gentle with the clutch so that power is delivered to the driving wheels more smoothly, reducing the chance of skidding.
- Be gentle with the throttle. In a front-wheel drive car, too much acceleration on a slippery surface will cause understeer, resulting in the car not turning as much as it would with the usual amount of grip. In a rear-wheel drive car, however, too much acceleration will make it oversteer, which is where the rear of the car exaggerates the steering input and slides out.
- If grip is lost and you go into a skid under gentle acceleration, take your foot off the accelerator and steer in the direction of the skid. But if grip is lost under gentle braking, keep steering in the direction that you want to travel and the anti-lock braking system (ABS) will pulse the braking effort to try to maintain that course.
- The ABS is designed to help you both brake and steer at the same time. To work effectively the system needs to sense grip on the road surface, so in icy or slippery conditions you should reduce speed and brake gently, keeping your eyes focused on the point you want to reach.
- If you have a crash mitigation system, such as Toyota Safety Sense, try to keep your car’s radar sensors and forward camera free of snow and ice, as this might obscure their ‘vision’ and stop them working correctly.
- Consider fitting cold weather tyres, they will improve grip and stability when ambient temperatures are less than seven degrees Celsius.
Rain and on flooded roads
- Rain reduces your visibility and increases stopping distances, so it’s advisable to double the distance between your car and the vehicle in front.
- Use your headlights whenever visibility is reduced, not just at night, in accordance with the Highway Code.
- Regularly check your lights and the condition of your windscreen wipers and replace any defective bulbs and blades as necessary.
- If the roads are flooded, avoid areas of deep water, which is usually by the kerbs.
Driving in fog
- Fog is one of the most dangerous weather conditions, as an accident involving one car can quickly escalate to involve others if they are driving too close. Leave a distance of at least three seconds between you and the car in front.
- Use your headlights and fog lights to increase your visibility to others.
Driving in strong winds
- When driving during high winds, be aware that sudden gusts can happen at any time. particularly on open stretches of road, through gaps in roadside hedges, or when crossing bridges.
- Hold on tightly to the steering wheel and be prepared to correct your course to stay in lane, or to avoid other vehicles and debris blown into your path.