Stay Safe With These Winter Driving Tips

Black ice is difficult to see on a road

Winter weather and road conditions can pose a range of challenges to drivers. The risk multiplies when the driver is inexperienced or driving an unfamiliar vehicle. Here are some Rentco safe driving tips for winter driving in a rental truck, bus or utility vehicle.

Winter driving

Extreme weather and poor light make driving dangerous in the winter months hazardous. Drivers can protect themselves, their vehicle and other road users, by adjusting their speed and driving style to reduce the risk of an accident.

  • Rain, flood water, and black ice create hazardous road conditions. Always maintain a safe distance to the vehicle in front and remember, the vehicle’s stopping distance doubles in the rain, even more if the vehicle is loaded.
  • Wet and greasy roads can cause a vehicle to slip and slide. Remember to accelerate smoothly and brake gently.
  • See and be seen. Rentco recommends that drivers always turn on the vehicle headlights to increase your visibility to other road users. 

    In fog or snowy conditions, reduce speed and use fog lights instead of setting your headlights on high beam. If your vehicle doesn’t have fog lights, switch your headlights onto low beam.
  • Be vigilant for water on the road and avoid large puddles. Never drive through floodwater, even in a large vehicle as it is extremely dangerous.

Black ice

In winter, stay alert for black ice when driving on roads that haven’t been exposed to sunlight, like shaded areas, under tree cover, on or under bridges and on overpasses.

Black ice forms on roads when rain falls onto a frozen surface when sleet or snow, refreezes. Black ice commonly forms overnight or early in the morning and is practically undetectable to the naked eye. 

Vehicles lose traction when they hit icy road conditions, so you should check your local weather and road conditions, and follow these safety precautions:

  • Avoid harsh braking or acceleration. Trucks, vans and utility vehicles have a high centre of gravity and are inherently unstable.

    Braking harshly or oversteering when a vehicle is skidding on ice can cause the vehicle to roll over. Instead, try to stay calm, decelerate, and drop down a gear if possible.
  • Delay your trip if you can to avoid icy conditions where possible. If you have to drive, allow plenty of time, slow down, and drive carefully.

The practicalities

Remember to take a tarp, de-icer and scraper if you have to park overnight in wintery conditions. 

The tarp should help prevent the windscreen freezing over. Avoid cracking your windscreen by only using a de-icer, never water to clear ice or snow from glass surfaces. Use winter (or Alpine) diesel to prevent it from gelling in cold weather conditions. 

With major depots in every mainland capital city and some regional areas, you can rely on Rentco. Every Rentco rental truck, bus or utility vehicle is fully inspected and ready to work with our in-house 24/7 national breakdown support service at no extra cost, you can rely on Rentco. Talk to our friendly customer service team today.