Take care and ensure you stay safe on the roads this winter. Winter driving is one of the most dangerous times on the road.
Our moods are not the only thing that the cold weather has an effect on. When it comes to driving in winter there are a number of different things that you have to take into consideration. Your safety is always the number one priority and there are certain things that you can do to ensure that you stay safe on the roads this winter.
First off, preparation is key! Check the Met Office the night before to see if there is any forecast inclement weather. Ensure you have the following items kept in the car in case you breakdown:
- A torch with spare batteries
- A scraper and de-icer
- Jump leads
- A mobile phone charger
- Warm clothing and blankets
- Food and drink (replace frequently)
- A reflective warning sign
- A spade or shovel.
These are items that you can pick up in any local Halfords or car retailer. It is essential for you to keep warm and to increase your safety in case of emergency.
It is important to keep your vehicle in good condition all year round but it is of particular importance during winter months. Car batteries are more prone to fail whilst driving in winter due to the amount that it is relied upon; try to avoid running electrical systems for longer than necessary to save on your battery life. Alternatively, charge your battery frequently during the winter months. Many car retailers stock battery-testing kits so you can manage the battery life expectancy.
Check your coolant on a regular basis and ensure that it is at the appropriate levels and ensure that there is anti-freeze in the coolant. Another issue people tend to neglect is the importance of wiper blades, make sure these are in good working order before setting off and replace them when necessary. Also ensure that you have enough winter screen-wash and that it is topped up for the frostier conditions. The local Highway Code will give you many tips in helping maintain your vehicle in the winter months.
During the cold winter months ensure that your car has been thoroughly scraped (when necessary), don’t just rely on the heaters in the car to break down the ice. Remove all the snow from your vehicle including the snow on the roof – if you hit a bump in the road or have to break suddenly the snow could fall forward and taint your vision which is a hazard to you, other drivers and pedestrians. Do not use hot water on your windscreen as it may damage and even crack the glass – an unnecessary expense that you can avoid!
When driving in winter months, particularly if you have a long journey to make, it is important that you keep an eye on the weather forecast and if it is particularly bad, drive only when absolutely necessary. When you are on the road make sure that you are aware of others around you and remember that due to road conditions your stopping distance and time may be increased.