With snow falling in the UK this week and with the Met Office signalling more is on the way, it’s high time you prepped not only yourself, but also your car for driving in winter.
The motor insurance experts at Adrian Flux are always looking out for your well-being and they have come up with some winter driving tips to keep you on the move and safe when you are winter driving.
Check your tyres for safe winter driving
Check all your tyres for tread depth and pressure – don’t forget the spare. It is not only the snow that causes dangerous driving conditions; the roads can be icy and especially greasy in the winter from mud, water and the salt.
For safe winter driving tyres should be in good condition, check the walls too for gouges and bulges, and the tread depth should be at least 3mm.
The legal limit for minimum tread depth on your tyres is 1.6 millimetres, across the central 3/4 of the tread and around the complete circumference of the tyre.
You should also check that all your tyres are the correct pressure in accordance to the vehicle manufacturer’s requirements.
Especially if you live in an exposed or rural area, you might want to consider investing in a set of winter tyres.
Check your antifreeze is topped up
Check and if necessary, replace the antifreeze in the radiator. It will take a few minutes and could save you hundreds of pounds should it freeze, crack or burst.
Make sure you can see
Roads get mucky in winter with mud and slush, that means windows can become smeared and lights covered in dirt. It is vital you keep your windows clear and your lights clean. It takes seconds to run a cloth over them before you set off but it could be a life-saver.
Before you set off ensure your window washer fluid is topped up (washer fluid will usually have de-icer mixed in the solution).
If your window is iced up make sure you clear it thoroughly. Don’t be the idiot driving along the road while peering through a letterbox-shaped clearing in the ice.
If your windows are misted up on the inside run the engine with the heater on until they clear. It is foolish and dangerous to drive off if your vision is restricted.
Always be prepared in the winter
The things you use to unfreeze your car in the morning should come with you… Leaving the de-icer and ice scraper at home won’t help you at 5pm when you discover your car is frozen solid again.
Get your car serviced
Having your vehicle checked over during winter is a good idea. If the cold weather affects you it will affect your vehicle and it is important any problems are pin pointed before major damage is caused… the last thing you want is to be stranded in the freezing cold weather waiting for the breakdown service.
Always be prepared to travel during a cold snap. The things you use to un-freeze your car in the morning should come with you… leaving the de-icer in the drive way will not help you at 5pm when you discover your car is frozen solid again.
It sounds like a cliché, but if heavy snow if forecast keep supplies in your car. It may seem stupid at first but a snack, a big coat and a map may well come in handy should you get stuck in traffic or diverted.
If you DO break down, ensure you and your passengers are in a safe place. Do not leave your bonnet open as you wait for the recovery vehicle, an engine bay full of snow and rain is not ideal.
If the worst comes to the worst …
If you do break down or a road becomes impassable, ensure you and your passengers are in a safe place. Don’t leave your bonnet open while you wait for the recovery vehicle, an engine compartment full of snow and rain will not help matters.
Perhaps you should reconsider taking out Flux Rescue Breakdown Cover with your motor insurance policy.
Adjust your driving technique for safe winter driving
In extreme weather your driving style has to change. Stopping distances should be ten times greater in snow or ice, apply the brakes gently with no sudden movements.
Pulling away from snowy or icy junctions may be easier in second gear and lower revs will help prevent wheel spinning.
If your car does begin to slide, don’t panic, ease off the clutch and steer into the direction the car is skidding. Keep your foot off the brake as this could lock them further.
Patience and common sense is vital when it comes to driving in bad winter weather.