Everyone knows that driving in extreme weather during winter is no fun. We need all the help we can get to make it through surface water and floods as well as ice and snow. Getting your car off the drive in the morning is a bit of a pain too, so here are some features to look for in a car that will make the dark, cold, wet and windy days a little bit easier to tackle.
Advanced Safety Features:
Anti-lock braking and Stability Control are now compulsory in new cars. Other features come as standard in some cars or they can be found on your option list. These include lane departure prevention, adaptive headlights, forward collision avoidance and automatic emergency breaking.
Anti-lock braking, pumps the brakes rather than locking them to help prevent skidding in icy conditions. Stability control acts if the car starts skidding and helps you to regain control of the car.
4WD (Four Wheel Drive) or AWD (All Wheel Drive) – different names for basically the same thing – are better in snow and icy conditions. They provide a lot more grip on the road due to the power from the engine being split between four wheels rather than two. This results in a gentler force being applied to each wheel decreasing the chances of skidding.
You find 4WD or AWD in a lot of cars these days not just big expensive trucks and SUV’s. Want to learn more about cars with this feature for the winter, give us a call or we can call you at a time to suit you, follow this link to our contact us page where you can also drop us an email/enquiry.
Headlight Washers and Wipers
In the winter much of the snow, ice and salt on the roads can accumulate on your headlights decreasing visibility for you and making you harder to spot for other road users. Headlight washers and wipers keep you lights clear and keep you visible to others and also help you see the road ahead better.
Heated Seats and Steering Wheel
Comfort for you in the cabin makes driving easier and therefore improves safety for everyone. In the morning you can switch on your seats and wheel and they can heat up in seconds, quite often quicker than the hot air. You don’t have to spend a fortune to get them either, some very affordable cars for most these days have both of these features. Want to find out more, contact us today for a chat about what we have for lease or what is on special offer at the moment.
This is a real luxury, allowing you to heat up your car from the comfort of your home, usually operated by a button on your key fob. This is now available on many models and makes of vehicle, usually as a cost option. Contact us to find out more.
Winter tyres have softer, more flexible rubber designed to create more traction on icy, snowy or slushy roads when the temperature drops. These, sometimes, are a useful option in the winter if you don’t have 4WD/AWD. You need to switch back to your all season tyres when the weather improves again.
This is much quicker and less painful than scraping the windscreen yourself on cold mornings. Some cars nowadays have heat applied to the windscreen wipers as well to stop them from sticking to your windscreen!
Automatic Gearbox with Snow Mode
A feature on automatic cars, usually displayed as a button on the gearbox with a snowflake or W, you can switch this on in the snow and minimise your chances of skidding.
Higher Ground Clearance
Necessary where you get quite heavy snowfall and drifts, ground clearance refers to the distance between the road and the bottom of your car. Vehicles like the Ford Focus clear the road by about 12cm where as something like the Land Rover Discovery clears the road by about 28cm. It doesn’t take a genius to work out the Discovery is going to find it easier to get through snow on the road than the Ford Focus.
You can get voice control in your car these days for things like the navigation, phone and even the heating. When stress levels are high driving in difficult conditions the ability to control these with your voice takes away the added pressure of taking your eye off of the road to press buttons.
A spare wheel and tyre is useful if you have hit a large pothole or something and have a flat tyre. Cars that come with equipment for pumping up your flat tyre may not do the job properly if the tyre is badly damaged, hence leaving you stranded in the cold and wet.
Snow Socks and Snow Chains
Snow socks are useful, if you don’t have winter tyres and they pop on to the tyres like a pair of socks (usually the wheels that drive the car, for example the back two in a rear wheel drive). They are just to be used on snow, and you should keep to a maximum of 30mph.
Snow chains are for more extreme conditions and are usually used in ski resorts where there is a lot of snow on the roads.
Winter Driving Course
There are a wide range of these available and don’t have to be taken in the winter. The conditions can be simulated all year round. The course will last a few hours but the skills will stay with you for a lifetime.
This should include the following:
• Ice Scraper and de-icer
• Phone charger
• Warm coat and practical footwear
• Thick blanket or sleeping bag
• Snacks and a drink
• First aid kit
• A shovel
• Extra screenwash
So, to prepare you for winter think about these features when researching and buying your new car. If you are not in the market for a new car, some of these features can be added to your existing car (obviously the emergency kit!) Contact us at MW today to find out more about the vehicles we have on offer and to find out how leasing your next vehicle could be the way forward, if you don’t already.