could cost a lot more than proper tyres.
30th January 2006.
Who hasn't experienced one day that
scary feeling of losing control, of being at the mercy of
luck, good or bad, while surfing on wet tarmac as the
car's momentum and obstacles decide?
Visibility gets reduced due to
snowfalls and snowstorms. Roads get covered with slush
which later freezes making them dangerously icy.
The worst feeling after accidents in
such conditions is the bitter thought that it could have
been avoided with simple, stupid measures, nothing more,
to get through the cold season safely and comfortably.
Simple measures, like driving on winter
tyres until spring starts. From May this year at the
latest, motorists will face in Germany a minimum fine of
20 euros if their cars are not suitably equipped for
prevailing weather conditions, and as much as 40 euros if
they are obstructing the traffic, according to an
amendment of the German Road Traffic Regulations passed by
This does not mean that winter tyres
are generally mandatory. And the comprehensive insurance
can still only refuse to pay in the event of gross
negligence on the part of the driver – like, for
example, if the car was being driven on summer tyres in
snowy mountainous regions – reassures the Federation of
Public Insurance Companies.
“Nevertheless, those driving in snow
and slush should think of their own safety as well as the
safety of other road users by equipping their car with
winter tyres”, recommends Sven Klein from the
Another protective and even simpler
measure is to ensure maximum visibility at all times, by
keeping car windows clear of snow and ice.
Scraping a peephole in the windscreen
is not enough! Clear snow from the roof. Snow piled up on
the roof can fall onto the windscreen obscuring your view
and can also be a hazard to the person driving behind you.
Better visibility is not a one-way
ticket! make sure the vehicle can be seen too. It is vital
that the vehicle's lights are checked regularly.
Auto light bulbs do not normally fail
suddenly. Instead, their light output declines gradually.
Do not forget to clean snow and dirt
from the headlights as well.
Driving with your headlights on during
daytime hours will help others to see you better during
the dark season.
Get your lights checked. Many workshops
still provide this service free of charge.
How about the battery? Check it or have
it checked. After all, you want the car to start following
an extremely cold night.
In any case, be well prepared for an
emergency. Additional warm and windproof clothing also
belongs in the car, together with the battery jump lead,
the first aid kit and the warning triangle.
Last but certainly not least: always go
light on the accelerator and drive reasonably to avoid
Once these simple measures are
fulfilled, you can bet that luck will be much nearer when
you need it most... and that's the good luck, not the bad
one. For the latter is most often busy with those who
ignore simple safety measures. As simple as that.