Modern motorhomes are very much all-weather leisure vehicles – they are heated and well-insulated, making them a perfect home from home even in the dead of winter.
But the motorhome is also designed to be driven and, in winter, conditions on the roads may prove challenging enough for any driver – the more so if you are driving a motorhome or auto-sleeper.
So here are a few tips and suggestions for safe winter driving in your treasured motorhome:
- probably the single most important precaution to take before driving in winter is to be prepared;
- weather conditions may change at a moment’s notice and you don’t want to be caught off-guard by the sudden appearance of ice, snow or sleet;
- indeed, if snow or other severe weather warnings have been issued – the Met Office sends them free through their email alert service – then it might be sensible to postpone your outing altogether;
Winter tyres and chains
- if you know we are in for a prolonged cold snap or heavy snowfalls are predicted – you might even be driving your motorhome to one of Europe’s winter sports destinations – you might want to consider investing in winter tyres as a very minimum;
- in many countries, advises Out and About Live, snow chains or snow socks – textile liners that wrap around the wheels of your motorhome – may be a legal requirement;
Keep a safe distance
- keeping a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you is ever-green advice – but becomes even more critical in winter time;
- as conditions on the roads deteriorate – and especially if there is ice or snow – you may need to triple or even quadruple your distance behind the vehicle in front;
- that extra gap might make all the difference you need if the vehicle stops suddenly and your braking and final stopping distance is put to the test;
- winter driving also relies on your having an even more familiar knowledge of your motorhome’s controls – especially the demister;
- the last thing you want to be doing when trying to concentrate on the road ahead is to be fiddling with unfamiliar controls to get the correct flow of air from the demister;
- clearly, any accumulated ice on the windscreen needs to be removed before setting off but never try to do so by pouring hot water over it – you are likely to crack your windscreen – so, instead use a patent de-icing spray or liquid
- to help prevent the accumulation of ice in the first place, invest in a purpose-designed windscreen cover or even use cardboard or an old sheet;
- be similarly careful when using hot water to heat keys to turn in frozen locks – modern locks are likely to incorporate plastic components which may melt if the key is too hot;
The windscreen washer
- you’re likely to be needing the windscreen washer to maintain good visibility whilst on the move, so remember to keep the water reserve topped up with an appropriately strong de-icing fluid;
- if you have forgotten to do so, or do not know whether the vehicle’s radiator is topped up with antifreeze, have the concentration checked and add more to bring it up to the required level.
Your motorhome is probably designed for all-weather enjoyment, so don’t hesitate to use it for just that. Just remember that extra care, preparation and precautions may be needed for the challenge of winter driving conditions.