Posted by Carter | Under Travel Tips
Wednesday Dec 3, 2014
5 Myths of Winter Driving Safety
A vacation during the year’s colder months can take you to any number of fantastic winter wonderland locations around the globe, from the Alps of beautiful Switzerland to the scenic fjords of Norway, but a wise wayfarer is always wary of travel conditions inclement to winter driving safety like ice, snow, and slush. Freezing temperatures, while making for a great ski holiday with lots of powdery snow, can cause serious driving complications that will catch the unprepared journeyer off-guard. Luckily, though, winter driving difficulties can be easily dealt with and avoided with some careful consideration and a little knowledge.
Myths of Winter Driving Safety
Here are five of the most common myths about driving during the winter:
- Driving a large vehicle is better than a small one – In truth, driving a large vehicle can prove to be more trouble than it is worth. This is especially true if you are not used to driving a large vehicle. Should you need to rent a vehicle during the holidays, it pays to rent the same size vehicle as the one that you already own; something that you’re already used to driving.
- Front wheel drive is the best for winter driving – The truth of the matter is, the traction and control offered by a front wheel drive vehicle pales in comparison to a vehicle of comparable size with all-wheel drive. All-wheel or 4-wheel drive will allow you to distribute the grip on the road amongst all 4 tires, providing you with a good amount of extra stability. When possible, avoid driving rear-wheel drive cars in snow, ice, and slush as the decreased traction causes the back end of the vehicle to “fishtail” resulting in loss of control.
- Gas mileage is the same all year – This myth is simply untrue; mileage will decrease during the winter months for all car types and sizes. Try to keep this in mind when you choose what vehicle you drive on holiday. You don’t want to rent something that already guzzles gas if you are going to be doing a lot of driving during colder winter months.
- Light will increase visibility – This is generally true in optimal conditions, but avoid vehicles with headlights that are too bright when considering winter driving safety. They can reflect back in both snow and fog and confuse you while you are trying to navigate. The glare can be horrible! Use low beams and vehicles with low intensity bulbs to combat the increased contrast and white-out possibility of snowfall in winter.
- You don’t need to winterize – All vehicles should have some modifications for the winter. If they don’t, you are risking your own safety and the safety of anyone driving with you. Vehicles should always be inspected thoroughly and run frequently during the cold to make sure they can handle the temperatures. This is, of course, no issue if you are renting but owners have to take extra steps themselves.
Maintaining Winter Driving Safety When Renting a Vehicle
Most of the issues involved with preparing a vehicle for safe driving during the winter months will already be taken care of when you rent a vehicle. With that being said, there are a few things that you will want to double check on prior to renting a vehicle to ensure that you have a safe and worry-free vacation:
- Insurance information – During the winter months you will definitely want to make sure that you have your insurance covered. While you might not be able to control road conditions or weather, you can neatly handle any issues that might come up due to an accident provided you have planned ahead and purchased insurance.
- Rent the right size vehicle – On icy roads, the weight and size of a vehicle can make a large difference in the way that it handles. Rent a vehicle that is of a comparable size to the vehicle you own or typically drive; trying to operate a large vehicle that you are not accustomed to driving will only make navigating snowy winter landscapes that much more difficult!
- Speak with the representative about the vehicle – It is good to speak with whoever is renting the vehicle to you about anything you might need to know regarding driving during wintry weather. Road conditions and weather patterns will vary greatly depending on your destination and some local insight will prove valuable as you explore the unfamiliar territory with your rental vehicle.
These are just a few tips to follow for winter driving safety on your next vacation. If you need to rent a car feel free to call Kemwel anytime, 24/7 and toll-free at 1-877-820-0668 or browse our rates online. If you’d like additional driving information on specific countries feel free to visit our international driving information page and be sure to check out Kemwel’s great special offers, getting you fantastic rates on everything from hotels to airfare and more! We’ll help you find a great price on the ideal vehicle for your next snowbound holiday and so long as you heed all local warnings and prepare accordingly, you should have no worries regarding winter driving safety while traveling on your next vacation!