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DRIVING IN WINTER

Published on 30/01/2018

Expertise

Guide


In winter, drivers often receive advice which however well-intentioned, is not always wise.
A serious mistake, for example, is defrosting the windshield with hot water. This risks cracking the window pane. For de-icing, it is better to use a scraper or a de-icing spray.
It is also not advisable to put alcohol instead of antifreeze in the washer fluid, because when used alone, ice crystals can form on the cold glass after the wipers have moved back and forth, obstructing the view. Ideally you should use the antifreeze sold in stores, because this product contains other substances avoiding any build-up of frost. The Automobile Club recommends using an antifreeze concentrate that guarantees freeze protection in severe temperatures of least -20°C.

It is also not recommended to force the doors to open because too much exertion may cause the hinges may tear. In this case, it is better to wipe the hinges with a suitable cleaning product, which will prevent ice from forming. Turning the wipers on when the blades are still caught in the ice is also a serious mistake because the rubber lip can tear, the fuse may blow, or the device may become damaged. It is best to take off the wiper blades before freezing conditions occur or else use a de-icer so that the blades can move freely. The glass must not be icy when removing the blades.
Connecting an electric blanket to keep children warm in traffic is also not advisable, as it requires too much energy and may overload the car battery. The same goes for electric cushions. We advise you, to always have a woollen blanket in the car in winter.

Children should not wear heavy jackets when sitting in car seats as the thickness distends the seat belt. The jacket should be removed or at least opened so the belt is not damaged.
Putting hot water bottles on the dashboard so the windshield does not ice over is also to be avoided. Hot water bottles can fall and distract the driver, or even block the foot pedals, running the risk of accidents. In this case, it is better to slightly open the passenger and driver windows, wipe the glass down with a microfibre cloth kept close at hand and ensure the windows remain clean.
Likewise, batteries of mobile phones and navigation devices should not be left in the car in winter. It is better to store these at home during freezing conditions.
Rear fog lamps are often used illegally. As a reminder, these must only be switched on when visibility is less than 50 meters; in such conditions the maximum authorised speed is 50 km/h. If visibility is greater than this, use of these lights may blind other road users.

Daytime running lights are not always the right choice during the day, as at dusk and in bad weather they are insufficient. It is better in such cases to turn on the low beam.

 


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