Winter driving lessons can be advantageous in a number of ways.
Firstly, driving lessons in the winter prepare you for the inevitable challenges of driving during the coldest months of the year. In addition, there may be less demand for driving lessons, translating to greater flexibility.
There is also a better chance of scoring a driving test cancellation – i.e. where a learner cancels their booking and the slot opens up, enabling another learner to take their test earlier.
Even so, continuing a series of driving lessons in the winter is not most people’s first choice. Even though doing so is considered a good idea by instructors and road safety experts alike, due to the additional hazards on the roads.
What Are the Additional Challenges of Winter Driving?
Issues with congestion can be worse during the winter, as bicycles are retired and walking is no longer an appealing prospect. Many even quit using public transport temporarily, in favour of their own warm, safe and comfortable cars.
Along with this, there are four major weather-related challenges that can make driving in the winter more difficult:
Black ice has the potential to be lethal because it is practically invisible. By the time you have hit a patch of black ice, there is very little you can do about it.
Snow can also make for difficult riding conditions, whether falling at the time or accumulating on the ground. Compressed snow and wet snow have the potential to be just as slippery as ice.
Bouts of heavy rain in the winter can make dark and difficult driving conditions even more treacherous; particularly if the rain that falls subsequently freezes into ice.
It is technically no more or less likely to be windy in the winter than in the summer, but heavy winds in winter can exacerbate the issues above to create hazardous driving conditions.
Staying Safe on the Roads in Winter
The key to staying safe on the roads in winter lies in taking some sensible precautions to safeguard yourself and everyone else. Essential examples of which include the following:
1. Keep your distance
Always be mindful of the fact that stopping distances increase exponentially during the winter. What would normally be a stopping distance of just 2 seconds could increase to more than 10 seconds in poor winter weather. You therefore need to ensure you keep plenty of distance between your car and the vehicle in front, so you have ample time to stop safely if necessary.
2. Drive in a higher gear
It is also advisable to keep your car in a higher gear when driving in snowy or icy conditions. If you use more gas than necessary you may find your vehicle loses traction with the road very easily which results in less over all control.
3. Check your tyres
The condition and inflation of your tyres will play a big role in determining the grip they maintain on the road. In the winter, it is essential to check your tyres before heading out on any journey. If possible, consider investing in a set of high-quality winter tyres, which are designed to maximise grip in even the worst winter driving conditions.
4. Take your time
Always allow extra time to reach your destination, even when driving short distances. The longer you have to get there, the less inclined you will be to hurry and put yourself at risk. Even if there is a chance you will be late, take your time and ensure safety is your priority.
5. Consider refresher lessons
Anyone who finds driving in the winter a daunting prospect could benefit from a course of refresher driving lessons. Taking to the wheel under the supervision of a qualified instructor can be great for building the skills needed to tackle winter driving conditions with confidence.