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Read our 7 winter driving safety tips

Find out how to stay in control of your vehicle when driving in bad weather with our advice for driving in snow and driving on ice. This practical guide will tell you about recommended vehicle accessories for winter and how to prepare your tyres for driving in snow.

Tip 1: Always prepare your vehicle, especially your tyres!

Before setting off, always de-ice and scrape your windscreen to make sure that you have a good view of the road.

When the temperature starts to fall below 7°C, we recommend using tyres marked with the 3PMSF symbol. You can use winter tyres (sometimes referred to as snow tyres) from the MICHELIN Alpin range, or all season tyres from the MICHELIN CrossClimate range.

If you have to fit snow chains upon arrival in a mountainous area, pull over in a safe place and fit them in one of the designated chain fitting bays provided at the foot of the mountains. 

marquages m s et 3pmsf fiche 06

marquages m s et 3pmsf fiche 06

Tip 2: Adjust your tyre pressure

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cjzsgqez707g00pp5ph60mlqq tiretips inflation 0 32 400 299 max

 

As the temperature drops, so does your tyre pressure. So in winter, you should adjust your tyre pressure as properly inflated tyres are safer and more fuel efficient.

Tip 3: How to drive in the snow

Driving in the snow can be stressful for drivers who are not used to it. You must stay in control of your vehicle, stay focused on the road at all times and hold the steering wheel with both hands.

Bryan Bouffier, a French racing driver and winner of the 2011 centenary edition of the Monte Carlo rally, says: “On snowy roads, the most important thing is to stay calm, brake and accelerate gently, look far ahead of you, increase your stopping distance, and - although it should go without saying - reduce your speed”.

Don’t use cruise control, as it is it not designed for driving on slippery ground and might make you lose control of your vehicle. 

Tip 4: Learn the proper braking techniques when driving in the snow

Start by reducing your speed and increasing stopping distances. Remember that your braking distance is four times longer in the snow, so keep your distance from the car in front - both uphill and downhill.

Bryan Bouffier, a French racing driver and winner of the 2011 centenary edition of the Monte Carlo rally, says: “When braking, the golden rule is no sudden moves”.

Winter driving tips - Keeping control while braking

Tip 5: Staying in control when driving around bends

Winter driving tips - Keeping control in bends

Front wheel drive

  • Release the accelerator and brake gently, approaching each bend as though it were much tighter than it seems, so that the tyres have a better chance of holding their grip when they are turned.
  • When exiting the bend, reducing rpm will make for easier traction.

 

Rear wheel drive

  • When the back of the vehicle skids out of line, you have to gently use both the accelerator and the brake, continuing to look in the direction where you want to go and turning in this same direction. 

Tip 6: How to handle hill starts when driving in the snow

On snowy roads, it is important to gently accelerate, gradually releasing the clutch in order to prevent the front wheels from skidding.

4x4 vehicles

4 wheel drive vehicles have more effective traction. In 90% of cases, these vehicles can handle hills even with summer tyres. But you can run into problems when driving downhill, as the weight of the vehicle is at the front. So it’s best to use winter tyres for driving in snow, even with a 4x4. 

Winter driving tips - Starting on a slope

Tip 7: Driving in snow - The difference between manual and automatic vehicles

Driving in snow should be approached in different ways depending on whether you’re driving a manual or automatic vehicle. With a manual, use a higher gear to reduce the likelihood of wheel spin. Some automatics come with snow mode, a very useful feature. Look in your vehicle manufacturers handbook for advice on winter driving relating to your vehicle. 

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What do I need to remember when driving in winter?

Below is a recap of our top tips for safe winter driving:

  • Prepare your vehicle by clearing any snow or ice from the windscreen;

  • Fit your vehicle with snow tyres;

  • Reduce your speed;

  • Brake slowly and smoothly;

  • Stick to safe stopping distances;

  • Stay in control when driving around bends;

  • Learn how to handle hill starts.

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