7th November 2017
The winter months provide a host of extra challenges for vehicles, but many can be prevented or reduced with simple precautions. With limited daylight hours and oppressive weather conditions making driving more hazardous than usual, it’s worth taking a little extra time and care to prevent damage or potential accidents.
With temperatures plummeting, make sure you’re properly stocked with antifreeze. Frozen and cracked engines can cost hundreds to fix, so be sure to check your service schedule and be aware of when yours will need replacing. A 50/50 mix of antifreeze and water will protect your engine down to -34C when the air gets nippy!
It’s worth leaving the house 10 minutes earlier, in order to properly clear your car of ice or snow. Obscured windscreens, especially, are extremely dangerous and can also incur a police fine. Don’t ignore the roof, either – Snow can fall onto the windscreen and block your view after you pull away. In addition, make sure your wiper blades are in good condition to deal with an excess.
With the darker mornings and evenings in full force, be sure to check all your lights are working properly, as well as remembering to clear snow from these, too – Not just the windows! It’s also advisable not to leave your engine running while you wait for a car to defrost; you’ll be running the risk of theft.
When visibility is low, you may need to use your fog lights – but remember to switch them off when visibility improves, so you don't dazzle other road users.
We all need a little extra grip in winter – Be it a good pair of boots, or a decent set of tyres. At least 3mm of tread is advisable and, better yet, a set of winter tyres that are suitably equipped for the season.
Stopping distances can be 10 times longer in ice and snow, so keep driving appropriate with gentle manoeuvres. Ensure your shoes have suitable soles and aren’t likely to slip on pedals, as well as staying topped up with at least a quarter of a tank of petrol – Just in case. If you drive an automatic, it’s also worth checking the handbook to see if your car has a winter mode.
Always allow a bit of extra time for your journey, so you don’t need to be hasty in less than favourable conditions. In addition, congestion on the roads is more likely when the weather is poor and visibility is reduced.
Oh, and one more tip – A cigarette lighter is a great solution to a frozen lock!
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