Winter driving tips

Although there seems to be some respite in some areas of the UK, the winter weather is still with us and continuing to cause many problems for everyone.

 

Our office furniture fitters have been having real problems meeting their delivery schedules, not just because of the extra time it takes to get round, but because when they do finally get there the person who ordered the desks or chairs hasn’t made it to work. 

 But whilst listening to our fitters moaning about how difficult driving a van load of heavy office furniture in 20 cm of snow is, they have come up with some  tips which may be of use to you.

 

Apart from the standard ones of taking enough outdoor clothing as if you are walking to work, and making sure you have water and snacks on board, ( plus an app on your iphone which points you to the nearest Macdonalds)  they also have the following to say:-

 

 If you drive a 4 x 4 please remember that you probably have tyres which are primarily designed for dry weather and high speed grip. So you may have more traction (ability to pull away in slippery conditions) but you wont have more grip ( ability to stop) if the road is icy or covered in snow.

The added traction from 4 wheel drive may make you feel more confident than you should be, resulting in you travelling faster than you should.

If you want more grip then you need to get tyres which are specially made for snow and ice.

 

Carry a spade and a bag of cat litter. It will get you out of a lot of trouble, and by digging out a little of the snow next to the driven wheels and covering the area with cat litter, you will get enough grip to overcome your vehicles inertia and will get moving.

But remember to put the cat litter and spade back in the car before driving off. You can get fold up army spades for just a few pounds and these often double up as picks or axes as well.

 

 If you are having real problems try lowering  the tyre pressures. Tyres grip by moving around and if you lower the pressure they can move around more . They are already having a hard time because of the cold weather which makes them less elastic, so removing some air will make them more flexible .  Make sure that you pump up your tyres to the correct  pressure as soon as you can though.

 

You should always be thinking in terms of slow and deliberate actions. Anticipate further ahead, slowing down gently on brakes and engine braking, and accelerating smoothly and gently, in a higher gear than normal.

Sudden changes to your cars speed or direction is what you must avoid at all costs. Try imagining that you have a plate of eggs on the roof of your car, and you don’t want to break any

 

And finally a very interesting tip from one of our office screen upholsterers is that , if you get stuck  ( this works best for rear wheel drive cars)  it is invariably because one driven wheel has no grip at all, and just spins madly, even though the other driven wheel has loads of traction.

This is because the differential, as useful as it is, allows all the power to go to the wheel offering the least resistance. So you can trick it by putting the handbrake on a few clicks, and then pulling away very slowly in 2nd gear.

The handbrake being on, makes the differential think that each wheel has the same resistance and the power is split proportionally. So the wheel with grip gets some of the power and you slowly drive forward.

 

Our fitters travel all over the country, delivering everything from desk lamps to steel tambour cupboards, so they have had plenty of experience of the snowy conditions and how best to deal with them, so we should all heed their advice