Tullamore Motors Opel guide to Winter Driving
- Opel brand ambassador Joachim Winkelhock: “Develop a feeling for car and brakes”
- IntelliLux LED® matrix light: Light as day even in the darkest night
- Adaptive all-wheel drive: Arriving safely even without a sledge
- Auxiliary heating: Creates a cozy temperature and eases impact on environment
Sliding around on a slippery surface can be fun – as long as the person involved has skis strapped to his feet or is sitting on a sledge. The situation is somewhat different for drivers. As the first few frosty nights have already caused some surprises, the time has come to prepare for wintry weather and road conditions. This is the case for the driver and for the car. Opel helps take the chill out of winter driving by offering numerous comfort and safety features that lower the increased risk during the cold months of the year. No matter whether it is adaptive all-wheel drive, IntelliLux LED® matrix light or steering wheel and auxiliary heating – vehicles from Rüsselsheim are well-prepared for the upcoming months.
Hit the road – with the right tires
Winter tires ensure better road holding and shorter braking distances in snow. “The tread depth of four to five millimeters is decisive,” said Opel brand ambassador Joachim “Jockel” Winkelhock. The former winner of the Le Mans 24 hours went on to explain that the correct storage of the tires is important too. “The tire no longer offers the right grip if it is porous – it then performs like a summer tire.” Filling the windshield washer tank with antifreeze is just as important. This prevents the water pipes and washer jets from freezing up, thus ensuring a clear view when necessary.
Adaptive all-wheel drive ensures maximum traction
The right drive technology also help to stay calm on icy or slippery roads. Models such as MOKKA X, Insignia and Insignia Country Tourer help drivers come to grips with snow, slush and ice thanks to their adaptive all-wheel drive (AWD). The system distributes the power as necessary in split seconds, thus ensuring maximum traction.
In general, the driving style should be adapted to the conditions and that means leaving a larger safety distance and being even more forward looking. Abrupt steering maneuvers should be avoided in slippery conditions. And when snow covered roads cannot even be navigated safely with winter tires, then snow chains are the only solution. Joachim Winkelhock advises to participate in a driver training before the onset of winter. “Developing a feeling for the car and the brakes is extremely important.” Drivers need to learn how to use their high-tech “tools” properly and get used to how the traction control and ABS work. The motorsports legend also had another hint: “Drive to a large, empty parking area when it is wet or snowy and hit the brakes hard so that you see how the car reacts.” Winkelhock continued to explain that people who absorb such experience can benefit from them intuitively in difficult situations.
Brighten up your day (and night) with IntelliLux LED®
Wet, snowy and icy conditions are also accompanied by darkness during most of the day during the winter months. However, there is an excellent remedy: IntelliLux LED®. The intelligent matrix light brightens up the day in the Opel Astra. Especially commuters who leave their homes early in the morning to return in the evening will come to appreciate the advantages of the innovative Opel lighting technology. After all, the risk of being involved in an accident increases as daylight decreases. This means that drivers who can see further are at a clear advantage. The adaptive LED matrix light adapts to the prevailing situation and enables driving with full beam – without glaring any other road users. It also enables animals near the road to be seen earlier than with conventional low beam.
Other Opel models such as the MOKKA X or the Zafira lighten up the road and the surroundings with full LED AFL technology. The AFL LED system automatically adapts the illumination provided by the headlamps according to the driving situation, thus ensuring that the optimal performance is available. By the way, in Germany, the rear fog lamp is only allowed to be switched on when it is foggy and visibility is below 50 meters – not when it is snowing or raining.
No more shivering thanks to auxiliary, seat and steering wheel heating
A lot of accidents during the winter happen at the beginning of the journey when the windshield and windows have not been completely cleared of ice. Therefore, drivers should leave the house a few minutes earlier than usual and have an ice scraper and a brush at the ready. Door lock and window de-icers can also be helpful. The car needs to be cleared of the snow completely when it has snowed overnight – this includes the number plates. A clean car ensures that following vehicles are not hit by snow or ice being blown off the roof and also that neither slides down the windshield if emergency braking is necessary.
Auxiliary heaters make scraping, iced up door locks and misted windows a thing of the past and better visibility increases safety. The Opel auxiliary heating is available for the light commercial vehicles Vivaro and Movano along with for all passenger cars ranging from Corsa to Astra, GTC to Meriva and MOKKA X to Zafira. However, the ex-works solution offered by Opel is not just a wellness feature. It also protects the engine and enables a more climate friendly starting behavior compared to a cold start. Both the oil and the catalytic converter reach operating temperature more quickly during a warm start. This reduces wear and tear and emissions when starting.
The heated steering wheel offered for most Opel models adds additional comfort in cold conditions. After less than a minute, the driver can already feel pleasant warmth. The well-being of the driver and the front passenger is further increased by the seat heating with which the seat and the backrest can be heated. Rear-seat passengers in the Opel Astra can also enjoy a warm back. All this also comes with a safety benefit – given the pleasant temperatures inside drivers do not need to wear thick clothing which would prevent the seatbelt being as close to the body as possible. And on that note: Enjoy the winter!