Winter Driving and Car Hire

Winter can be a hazardous time to drive even in your own vehicle in your local neighbourhood but add in factors such as driving an unfamiliar car in an area you do not know, possibly at night on the opposite side of the road after a long flight and it can be a test for the best drivers. Before you drive away from the car rental depot it is important that you become familiar with some of the vehicles functions that you may not need at other times of the year.Icy Car Windscreen

Condensation on the inside of a vehicle’s windscreen is a common problem in winter and it requires lowering the temperature inside the vehicle. Become familiar with the controls for ventilation and air conditioning if the vehicle is equipped with it and make sure air is distributed towards the windscreen.

If the vehicle is covered in frost, use the heated rear window which is now fitted to most cars. Give yourself time to turn on the engine and air heaters which will help remove frost from the other windows prior to driving off. Do not use hot water as this can crack the windscreen.

Fog is another winter driving hazard so using fog lights will make your car more visible to other drivers. You should be aware of where these are located on the rental car dashboard.

Before leaving the rental depot check the windscreen washer is working and filled with screen wash rather than water which will freeze.

Not necessarily something you may associate with winter but do take your sunglasses. Your car at home may have tinted glass but the hire car may not! Also the sun in winter can often be low on the horizon and too low for the vehicle’s sun visor.

Finally, the general tips for winter driving in adverse weather conditions should be employed especially when driving an unfamiliar vehicle whose acceleration and particularly braking will be different from what you are used to. Reduce your speed, avoid harsh braking and keep a greater distance between yourself and the vehicle in front.

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