We don't often see extreme winter conditions in the Netherlands. All the more reason to go to where the snow is! Are you planning on taking a winter sport holiday?
Driving safely in snow requires preparation and a number of skills. Our six tips will help you feel more confident driving your car in wintery conditions.
#1 Only drive when absolutely necessary
Are extreme winter weather conditions being forecasted? If so, it might be a good idea to postpone your drive. If you have little experience driving in extreme conditions, the likelihood of causing damage to your car is greater.
#2 Checklist for breakdowns
Generally, we can also assume that nothing will go wrong while driving. But it is important to be prepared before you hit the road. If your car breaks down, what will you need to have with you!
Besides food, beverages and warm clothes, you would be wise to have the following items in your car:
- Driving license
- Green (insurance) card
- Car documents
- Proof of insurance
- European Accident Statement
- Any vignettes you may need
- Orange warning triangle
- Safety vests
- First aid kit
- GPS Navigation system
- Fire extinguisher
- Parking disc
- Charged cellular phone
- Ice scraper
Whenever you rent a car with BB&L Car Rental, your coverage will include free roadside assistance 24/7 in Europe.
#3 Use appropriate lighting
If it begins to snow while you are driving at night, dimming your lights is advised. This will improve your view of the road and you will still be clearly visible to the other drivers. If your visibility is limited and less than 50 metres, you are allowed to turn on your rear fog lights.
Does your vehicle have an automatic lighting system? Then make sure this function has been activated.
#4 Keep adequate distance
You will need a longer braking distance during wet, wintery conditions. Do you remember what the appropriate distance is?
The rule of thumb is roughly 20 seconds from the car in front of you. If something happens with the car ahead of you, you will have enough time to react and avoid a collision.
To figure out if you are keeping a safe enough distance, try this: watch the car in front of you as it passes an object and then start counting until you reach the same object. If your count is under 20 then you need to increase your distance.
#5 What should you do if your car begins to skid?
Before going out on the road, it's always a good idea to find out how slick the roads are first. How? Hit the brakes on a large wide road when no one is driving behind you.
But what should you do when the car begins to skid? Release the gas pedal and do not hit the brakes whatever you do. Using your brake at that moment will only exacerbate the skid.
If the car begins to spin during a skid, steer the car in the direction in which it is sliding. This will give the wheels more grip.
#6 Pay close attention to your surroundings
As a driver in extreme winter conditions, you must stay very alert. Always keep an overview of the traffic situation in the front, back and to the side of your vehicle. Make sure that you keep your speed constant so that you will have plenty of time to react to your surroundings.