Top 10 Winter Motoring Tips
With winter well and truly upon us, now is the time to make sure that we prepare our cars (and ourselves!) for the ice, snow and sub-zero temperatures. With a little help from the RAC, we’ve put together the top 10 driving tips to follow ensuring a safe journey this winter.
Tyres – Check your tyre condition to ensure there is adequate tread. Look for any damage and double check the tyre pressure. Don’t forget to do the same with the spare! If possible, it is always recommended to purchase a set of winter tyres, just to be on safe side.
Coolant – This may seem obvious, but the number of people who run into problems due to the insufficient amounts of coolant is surprising! It is also important to ensure the correct amount of anti-freeze in the coolant. If you’re unsure, check your vehicle handbook or get your local RAC garage to make sure everything is in order.
Battery – A car battery can quite easily seize during cold temperatures, especially if it’s been idle for a long period of time. To ensure you don’t run into any problems, make sure your battery is fully charged and tested regularly, especially during the colder months.
Winter Kit – We recommend to put together a small kit of emergency items and store them in the boot of your car. Just in case you do run into trouble or get stuck. A few items we suggest are;
- Ice scraper and de-icer
- Torch, ideally a wind up torch.
- Jump start cables
- Sturdy rope
- Waterproof boots
- Road map
- Spare mobile phone with emergency numbers.
Brakes – When the roads are covered in snow and ice, your brakes will be less responsive but more important than ever. For this reason it’s essential to double check they are in full working order. If you know you will be taking longer journeys this winter, it’s recommended to have your local garage check them over at the start of the season.
Adjust your Driving Style – With ice and heavy snow, the winter is the most dangerous time of year on the roads. Make sure you drive safely and appropriately. Keep your speed down and allow more time to stop and steet. The RAC also say it's important to accelerate gently, use low revs and change up to a higher gear as quickly as possible.
Plan Ahead – With heavy snow can cause a variety of issues. Grit will generally only be dispensed on main roads so it’s advised to stick to these and avoid country lanes. Most drivers will also stick to the main roads which will cause traffic so it’s important to take the weather and traffic into account and leave earlier than usual.
Windows – Make sure all windows are completely clear. Use a good quality screenwash that protects you down to temperatures of at least -35 to make sure the water doesn’t freeze and render your windscreen wipers useless. Never use hot or boiling water to defrost your car, use warm water or de-icer.
Lights – Even during the day, heavy snow can cause very low visibility. Before setting off make sure your front and rear lights are in full working order and completely clear from snow and ice. The further you can see the better because your breaking distance is dramatically reduced in heavy snow.
Necessary travel only – Snow and ice bring many dangers to the roads and can cause sever accidents. When the weather is particularly bad, it is advised to only travel when absolutely necessary, it’s better to be safe than sorry!