It is very important to prepare for winter driving conditions as road conditions can be really challenging, especially if you encounter snow and ice see below our top 10 tips to help you.
- If you have a garage – use it your garage will protect your vehicle from snow and ice and save you time in a morning defrosting your windscreen.
- Antifreeze costs very little money however a frozen and cracked engine can costs hundreds of pounds to repair. Use a 50-50 mix of antifreeze and water for the winter – this protects your engine down to -34C. Most modern cars use long-life antifreeze. Make sure you use the right type. Some types of antifreeze need changing after only two years. A specialist garage such as A1 Clutches will be happy to check this for you.
- Car batteries seldom last five years, and in winter there are extra demands on your battery thanks to lights, heating and wipers being used much more. Remember to turn off large loads such as lights, heated rear window and windscreen wipers before starting your engine.
- Good vision is essential when driving in winter, keep your windscreen clean both inside and out.
Clear snow from the roof as it can fall onto your windscreen and restrict your view. Replace worn or damaged wiper blades and most importantly don’t leave your wipers on auto when you park your vehicle if there is a risk of frost as the wiper blades freeze to your windscreen and could damage the blades or wiper motor when you turn the ignition on. Use a suitable additive in your screen wash to reduce the chance of freezing.
- Make sure all your lights are working and the lenses are clean. With all the salt on the roads you may have to clean your lights after every journey. Keep number plates clean, to avoid fines. Use dipped headlights when visibility is reduced. If you use fog lights, remember to switch them off when visibility improves so they don’t dazzle other road users.
- When driving in winter you should ensure that your tyres have a minimum 3mm of tread, don’t let air out of your tyres to get more grip – it doesn’t work, and it’s unsafe. Only use snow chains if there’s enough snow to prevent damage to the road.
If you drive in areas subject to a lot of rain or snow you should consider getting a set of winter tyres or all-season tyres – these are made from a special rubber that gives better grip in cold, wet conditions.
- Slow down when driving on snow and ice, stopping distances are 10 times longer, gentle manoeuvres are the key to safe driving in ice and snow.
- Allow extra time for winter journeys. Get up at least 10 minutes earlier to give you time to de-ice your vehicle.
- Keep at minimum third of a tank of fuel in case you encounter unexpected delays.
- Keep an emergency kit in the boot to help you in the worst of conditions the kit should include:
- Bag of salt for better tyre traction or to melt the snow
- Blankets, gloves, socks and warm clothes
- First aid kit
- Ice scraper and snow brush
- Jump leads
- Matches in a waterproof container
- Nonperishable, high-energy foods like unsalted, canned nuts, dried fruits and sweets
- Properly inflated spare tire, wheel wrench and tripod jack
- Reflective triangle
- Tool kit
- Torch and extra batteries
- Tow rope
- Windscreen cleaner