Unfortunately car breakdowns and road accidents increase in number during the winter months and especially when outside temperatures really plummet, when snow and ice make driving conditions far more hazardous. Here are just a few tips to help you stay safe whatever driving challenges we face until warmer Spring weather makes a welcome reappearance.
Always make sure your car is well maintained to minimise the risk of a chilly roadside breakdown. These days cars tend to use long-life antifreeze to protect the engine from serious damage when the mercury drops, but it’s a good idea to check your car’s service records to see when it was last replaced. Also, ensure your battery can cope with the multiple tasks we often place on it e.g. operating lights, windscreen wipers and internal heating all at the same time. If it is five or more years old, consider replacing it as it is probably close to the end of its life.
Before you set off on any journey, however short, make sure all your lights are working efficiently and are not covered in road dirt, frost or snow, as it is vital that you can see and also be seen by others. Clean them if need be and your number plates too. Keep your windscreen and side windows totally clear inside and out and don’t be tempted to try to make do with clearing just small areas on the glass. Damaged or worn wiper blades face an even tougher challenge in wintry conditions, so it’s a good idea to replace them if need be and make sure your tyres are correctly inflated and have sufficient tread remaining.
Always allow extra time for journeys in really adverse weather and be sure to keep the fuel tank at least a third full. Avoid driving in snowy and icy conditions if at all possible, but when you have to the golden rule is to drive slowly and gently, whether accelerating or braking. Stopping distances can be far longer than normal and any sudden manoeuvres can cause the car to lose traction and slide.
Stay safe everyone.