Winter Wheels – are you ready?

It’s that time of the year when temperatures are dropping, so it’s a good time to start thinking about how this may affect your vehicle and driving conditions.

To help you stay safe on the roads, we’ve pulled together these handy hints and tips on how to get your vehicle winter-ready:

Be prepared

  • Check that your windscreen wipers are in good condition with no rips or tears in the rubber, as clear road vision is essential if it starts to snow.
  • Cold temperatures can have a negative effect on your battery, so make sure it is in good working order and is holding its charge.
  • Tyre pressures can decrease during frosty weather, so check them regularly throughout the winter.
  • Keep a close eye on the overall condition of your tyres, making sure the tread depth is at least 1.6mm and checking for any bulges or bubbles.
  • Vehicle fluids can be affected by the cold weather, so make sure your screen wash and anti-freeze are kept topped up.
  • Regularly check all lights on your vehicle, making sure that none are cracked, dirty or have blown bulbs – you could also consider keeping a stock of spare bulbs.
  • To prepare for the event of a breakdown or getting stuck in snow, consider keeping an emergency kit in your vehicle including items such as a torch, blanket, ice scraper, bottled water and snacks.
  • Take advantage of free or discounted winter vehicle checks being offered at some auto centres and garages.

Slow down

In winter weather, driving slowly and paying extra attention to other drivers around you is essential. Remember, black ice is not always visible on roads, so dropping your speed will allow you more time to slow down and turn.

If you are driving during storms or snow, road visibility is affected, making it harder to spot hazards ahead, so driving at a slower speed will give you more time to react.Make sure your lights are on, and use front and back fog lights when appropriate.

Give yourself extra time to reach your destination and give your full concentration to the road.

Do you need to drive?

Wherever possible, it is sensible to avoid driving in bad weather conditions, especially in snow and ice. Always consider other alternatives first – could you walk or take public transport? If your journey into work looks hazardous, consider the option of working from home if this is possible.

Last, but not least…

More cars break down during the winter months than at any other time of the year. Nobody wants to get stranded in the cold, so make sure you have taken out breakdown cover, so you can call for roadside assistance if needed. Remember to keep contact details for your policy inside your vehicle or stored on your mobile phone.

References

Cash for Cars. (2016). How to prepare your car for winter. Available: https://www.cashforcars.com/blog/prepare-car-winter/. Last accessed 28/12/2016.

Cash for Cars. (2016). Winter Driving Tips. Available: https://www.cashforcars.com/blog/winter-driving-tips/. Last accessed 28/12/2016.

Confused.com. (2014). 10 steps to prepare your car for winter. Available: https://www.confused.com/on-the-road/maintenance/prepare-your-car-for-winter-maintenance-tips. Last accessed 28/12/2016.

Auto Express. (2016). Preparing your car for winter. Available: http://www.autoexpress.co.uk/car-news/winter-special/89243/winter-car-checklist-preparing-your-car-for-winter. Last accessed 28/12/2016.

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