To avoid being stranded in your car, having an accident or a breakdown in the snow requires special care and a little preparation
Winter Driving Tips
- Car Check-Up: Before the winter weather really sets in it is a good idea to get your car checked over. Is your car battery in good working order as cold weather can quickly drain an old or inefficient battery. Are your tyre treads at the correct depth? 3mm is the recommended tread for winter motoring as worn tyres will not grip. Have you added anti-freeze to your cooling system? A 50-50 mixture of antifreeze to water is needed in the winter.
- Plan your journey: The first question you should ask yourself is ‘Is my journey necessary?’ If the roads are bad and snow is further forecast then it may be better to work from home or take the day off as holiday. Always use roads that have been gritted even if it extends your journey time.
- Wake up earlier: Set your alarm to wake you up in plenty of time to defrost your car properly. Remove snow from the roof of your car as this will loosen when driving and could obscure your window screen.
- Fill Up: Make sure your fuel tank is filled up. If you should get stranded n the snow then your cars engine is your only means of keeping the interior warm
- Slow Down: Stopping distances are 10 times longer in snow and ice. Try to maintain a slow constant speed to avoid sudden breaking and keep at least 10 seconds between yourself and the car in front.
- Be prepared: Ensure you have deicer, ice scraper, fully charged mobile telephone, torch, tow rope, blanket, warning triangle, non-perishable high energy food such as a chocolate bar, sacking or an old piece of carpet, bottle of water or a thermos flask, set of spare clothes, jump leads and a snow shovel.
- Wear warm clothing: Dress as if you are going to be walking in the snow. Wear a good set of thermal underwear, warm jacket and take a pair of gloves, a hat and scarf. Always wear comfortable dry shoes. Wet or snow covered shoes are liable to slip on pedals.
- Visibility: Check your headlights are clean and use them when visibility is reduced. Also ensure your number plate is clean.
- Hills: When climbing a hill ensure you leave enough space between yourself and the car in front so you can make it up the hill without having to brake. When going downhill select a high gear to prevent the use of breaks.
- Parking: Always park in the direction you intend to drive off from. Do not park uphill. Ensure that your window wipers are in the off position when parking your car so that they do not freeze to the middle of your window screen.