Winter Tips for Driving Your Rental Vehicle Safely

Winter driving can be challenging, especially if you live in an area that receives a lot of snow and ice. While the process of renting a van does not change from season to season, there are a number of steps you can take to make the most out of your winter rental. 

Here are our top tips for driving safely in your rental vehicle during winter.

Plan Ahead

When driving a vehicle during the winter months, whether it is a van hire or a vehicle of your own, it is important to plan your route instead of figuring it out as you go. The severe weather conditions that often accompany winter make taking on longer journeys more difficult without the right preparation. When you take your winter rental out for a drive, be sure to check the weather forecast, know where you are going, and plan your route accordingly.

Check the tyres

Well-maintained tyres are an important part of remaining safe during winter weather conditions.  Make sure your tyres have the appropriate amount of pressure. Tyres lose air quicker during cold weather so you’ll want to check your tyre pressure regularly to ensure they are properly inflated. This will make driving in the winter safer and will also improve your petrol-efficiency. 

Aging tyres are another potential danger when driving in winter conditions. You will want to check your tyres to ensure they are not too worn and that they are above the minimum tread depth.

Check the Battery

Winter conditions can affect battery life, especially if you park your van outdoors. If you don’t have a multimeter, the easiest way to get it tested is to have a technician at your local auto shop look at it.

If you do have a multimeter, you can check the battery yourself. You want to make sure that your battery measures 12.6 volts or above when fully charged.

The average vehicle battery lasts 3 to 5 years so depending on where you rent your van you may find a battery that is near the end of its life. Along with testing the battery, look for signs suggesting it needs to be changed such as flickering headlights or a rotten egg smell.

By ensuring your battery has plenty of juice you can avoid instances of your vehicle failing to start or dying while you are on the road.

Check Other Important Components

You’ll want to avoid the risk of being stuck in a random place without heat in your rental during a cold winter. Test your heater and defroster to make sure they work properly before you set out.

In the morning, you may find your windscreen fogged up to the point of not being able to see outside. A well-functioning defroster can clean this up without issue and will have you on the road quickly.

Along with the heater and defroster, you should also check other important components of the vehicle such as the headlights and windscreen wipers. This includes checking your van’s antifreeze levels prior to any trips to ensure optimum protection against breakdown due to cooling failures and coolant leaks.

Drive With Caution

Learning how to drive in difficult conditions will help you navigate the winter months more effectively. After all, driving on wet and slippery roads is much different than driving in normal conditions.

If you are unsure about how to handle more challenging weather conditions, lower your speed to give yourself more time to think and react. Be aware that stopping distances on snow and ice are much longer. Generally, braking distances are doubled in wet conditions and 10 times longer when driving on snow or ice. Braking distances are also impacted by the speed you are traveling. This means you need the length of seven football pitches to stop when driving the national speed limit on a dual carriageway or motorway in the snow.

Knowing how to react and recover from a skid is another important skill for those looking to drive their rental van safely during the winter. Front-wheel skids should be handled by keeping the wheel in the direction of the skid. A rear-wheel skid is handled a little differently as you correct it by steering into it. Being able to detect when your vehicle is about to skid and staying calm during its correction is the most effective way to deal with this common winter driving issue.

Hire Your Rental From Knights Van Hire

Knights Van Hire makes it easy to prepare for winter driving by offering a wide range of rentals that are ready to handle all of winter’s challenges. We provide a variety of rental vans including small, large, Luton, low loader options, and more. Whether you are looking for a rental for a day or a week, you are sure to find what you need.

Contact us today to book your van hire appointment, and let’s get you moving.

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