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​Winter Driving with Emma Gilmour

Emma Gilmour has been driving her entire life. She’s worked as an AA driving instructor, competes in the NZ Rally

Championship, and provides advanced driver training for track racing. She manages and owns Gilmour Motors (Dunedin’s Suzuki dealership) and on the Suzuki website Emma fronts the section dedicated to road safety and tips for drivers called ‘Ask Emma’. So given her unparalleled expertise we reached out and asked Emma for her top winter driving tips.

Common winter hazards

When you’re sitting in a nice warm car with all the modcons, it’s easy to underestimate the conditions outside. But in winter the sun sits lower in the sky so sunstrike can be a real problem. In rural areas there are sections of road that stay icy all day. And in some places torrential rain can lead to surface flooding which can cause you to aquaplane. So what can you do to stay safe?

Emma’s top tips for winter driving

Slow down – The speed at which you normally travel may not be safe when the road is wet or frosty. In winter there’s often less grip and less visibility. Don’t feel pressured by drivers behind you, ignore them and take it easy.

Be smooth – Try not to brake suddenly as it can cause your wheels to lock up. Drive smoothly and predictably so nobody has to make any sudden moves.

Keep clear – Make sure you defrost your windscreen and keep it clean. Also don’t forget to wipe your mirrors as these can get wet or ice up on cold winter mornings. Use your head…lights. Put your headlights on during dusk and dawn, and also when there’s fog, dark clouds or heavy rain.

Avoid sunstrike – Have your sun visor or sunglasses ready – especially in the early morning and evening when the sun is low in the sky.

Maintain – Keep your car in good condition. Check your tyres. Make sure there’s plenty of tread and they’re properly inflated. You’ll find the specifications in your owner’s manual, or your local mechanic or service station can set the pressures for you. Are your headlights and wipers working? New blades cost very little but can make a world of difference.

Plan ahead – Before starting your journey, check the weather forecast and road conditions so you know what to expect.

To learn more about the safety features that all new Suzukis come with, and for more tips to help complement your safe driving, whatever the conditions, visit our Ask Emma page!