DRIVERS have to be extra careful as weather conditions get tougher – but there are ways to make life easier behind the wheel of an automatic.
It’s well-known that gears can be an asset during the winter as roads become harder to navigate.
But there are a number of methods to make life behind the wheel of an automatic less stressful when the going gets tough.
Many automatics have a winter driving mode which sets you off in second gear and minimises the chance of wheelspin.
More expensive vehicles could also have a “snow mode” for the cold season, softening power delivery to the wheels.
Yet most automatics have neither of these – and without gears to help you grind through thick snow, driving an automatic in the winter can be daunting.
Here’s how it doesn’t need to be.
How should I drive an automatic car in the snow?
Unsurprisingly, there’s no magic bullet to fix the challenges of tricky winter driving.
But there are some ways to take advantage of your automatic’s ease of use, reports Ask the Car Expert.
Driving on fresh snow might seem more difficult as you don’t know what’s underneath, but in reality it’s a grippier surface than dense trodden snow.
Going easy on the controls from the steering wheel to the brake pedal will also set you in good stead.
Avoiding slamming the brakes is always sensible, but particularly in winter when you could get stuck in the snow.
And always, always corner slowly and carefully.
Is it safer to drive an automatic or manual car in the snow?
In truth, neither an automatic or manual are any safer to drive in the snow.
It’s about the driver – and their ability to manoeuvre in the snow.
Most good advice applies to both automatic and manual cars, such as cornering carefully and avoiding heavy brake usage where possible.
UK roads rarely become actively dangerous to drive on, but this year looks to be different.
Storm Arwen has already ravaged parts of the country, felling trees and sending vehicles off roads across Scotland and the North East.
Am I covered by my insurance when driving in the snow?
We’ve written about this crucial question recently.
The answer is yes, your car insurance will still be valid if you take it out in the snow — but be warned.
If your insurers believe you have negligently put your car in harm’s way then any claim could be questioned.
Poor driving can still result in rejected claims – and bad weather is no excuse.
Forbes Advisor consumer affairs expert Kevin Pratt told us: “Simply knowing you’re going to get a pay-out shouldn’t mean you take undue risks.
“If your insurance company can prove contributory negligence on your part, your claim might be questioned, and any pay-out reduced.”
Here are four ways to make sure you’re not breaking the law behind the wheel.
We’ve also looked into all the motoring risks of Storm Arwen.
And here are our Sun Savers top tips for saving cash by making sure your car is winter-ready.
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