Fit for the winter: The winter check for car drivers

Fit for the winter: The winter check for car drivers

Winter is just around the corner: It's raining or snowing and the streets are getting wet. If the temperature drops as well, it will be dangerously slippery. These tips will help you get through winter safely. Because good preparation is the best form of protection on the roads.

Do not wear thick winter coats while driving. Thick clothing restricts the effect of the seat belt because it is no longer right next to the body. This also applies to children in child seats. Aligned systems, such as airbags, seatbelt tensioners and seatbelt force limiters can only offer optimum protection if the seat belt is worn correctly.

The car on the other hand should be well equipped in winter: Winter tires fitted, snow chains, ice scrapers, gloves, winter shoes, jumper leads, a tow rope, torch, deicer, sufficient high-visibility clothing and a broom. A blanket or a winter coat have to be there too: If you breakdown, the waiting times can be very long in winter and when it is cold, it is better to have something warm that you can put on.

When it comes to tires, it is best to stick to the 4x4x4 and the October to Easter rule: Install four identical tires that are the same age, but no older than 4 years old, as well as a minimum profile of four millimeters. And always from October to Easter. Even with temperatures below seven degrees, winter tires can offer more safety.

Schneeflocken Symbol
Winter tires can be recognized by their «snow flake symbol».

Slow down

On slippery or snowy streets, it is important to slow down, not brake too sharply and steer smoothly. That way, you won’t end up skidding as quickly. Abrupt braking and steering maneuvers should be avoided whenever possible.

When starting up in the snow, engage second gear and accelerate cautiously so that the wheels do not lurch or spin. Generally, you will move through slippery streets better if you drive in your motor's lower speed range.

If the wheels are still slipping, shift to a higher gear immediately. This means that less power will be transferred into the wheels and it will be easier to stabilize your car. Modern vehicles support you with modern aides in this situation. Ask your local mechanic for advice.

See and be seen

Before setting off, all windows, lights and the number plate must be cleared of any snow or ice. It is also important that the windows are clean from the inside as well. Beware: It is not enough to clear a small hole to see through. If your sight is restricted when driving, this significantly increases your risk of accidents. The police do not like to see this either and you risk getting a fine, or even losing your driver's license in the worst case.

At the same time, you also have to be well seen: Therefore, make sure to clear headlights, indicators and number plates completely of any snow, ice or frost. You can do this for example using a broom or in low temperatures with a window de-icer from a spray can. Before every journey, make sure the lights, windshield washer and windshield wipers work perfectly.

Through winter with insight

Before the cold wintertime, fill the windshield washer and radiator with antifreeze and straight after that, turn on the windshield wipers for a while to distribute the liquid everywhere.

Do you like sleeping late? If so, we recommend you fold back the windshield wipers from the windshield when you park so they do not get frozen stuck, and also cover your windshield with a windshield cover overnight. This saves you from the morning ice-scrapping ritual.

Nothing works without the battery

Flat batteries are the most common cause of breakdowns, followed by motor and gearbox damage as well as damage to the tires and wheels.

Get your batteries checked regularly and change them when necessary. Replace defective batteries Immediately. Important to know: The battery will drain more quickly if, for example, the radio, navigation, heating, rear window heating or seat heating are switched on for short journeys in winter.

Hot tips for cold days

  • Take your vehicle for a professional winter check before the cold weather sets in.
  • Always clear the vehicle completely of snow and ice before setting off (falling lumps of ice or snow put you and others at risk).
  • Scrape the windows of ice first and only then start the motor (warming it up when stationary is not allowed).
  • Always check whether there is enough gas in the tank.
  • Adjust your speed to the conditions and be particularly careful when overtaking.
  • Double the safe distance.
  • Avoid abrupt braking and steering maneuvers if possible.
  • Good to know: Four-wheel drives help with setting off and accelerating but not with braking or turning corners.
  • Increase the life of your battery: Turn off the lights, radio, navigation and seat heating when starting the engine.
  • So that you are equipped for all emergencies: Charge your phone completely and don’t forget the charger.