WBARC would like to share some top 10 tips for winter driving with you. As weather conditions worsen each Winter so does the risk of damage to you and your vehicle
1) Plan your journey ahead – you are more than likely to encounter much longer journey times in adverse conditions. Leave earlier than you normally would to account for this and remove any need to drive erratically and increase the likelihood of an accident
2) Pack an emergency kit – numerous motorists were stranded overnight earlier this year because of snowy and icy conditions, and it is important to note a blizzard can happen at any time. Have supplies prepared in your car including a warm coat, food and water, winter boots, instant hand warmers, de-icer and scraper along with a well-charged mobile phone to ensure you are prepared for the worst case scenario.
3) Change your mindset – be prepared to encounter much different driving conditions to what you’re used to the rest of the year. Stopping distances are up to ten times longer in ice and snow so use high gears and low revs and leave a longer gap between your vehicle and cars in front
4) Check tyre tread depth and inflation – the minimum for tyre tread in the UK is 1.6mm, but for optimum safety you should consider new tyres if the depth is below 3mm. Also ensure they are inflated to the manufacturer’s recommended pressure for the vehicle and load. It’s also worth considering having winter tyres fitted.
5) Test your lights – make sure the front and rear lights are both clear of dirt and also fully operational.
6) Make sure your windscreen wipers are in good condition – blunt windscreen wipers can lead to smudging and poor visibility which is far more likely to lead to an accident. Equally, ensure your screen wash is topped up and that the inside of your windscreen is clear to avoid misting up.
7) Set off five minutes earlier – get ahead in the morning by waking up five minutes earlier in the morning and allow extra time to defrost and heat up your car. This way you won’t be tempted to set off with your windscreen not fully clear in the fear of being late to work and risk poor visibility and causing an accident.
8) Keep at least a half full fuel tank – keep the fuel tank at least half full throughout the winter. This will reduce condensation, making your vehicle easier to start on cold mornings. It is also useful if you are stuck in a huge traffic jam a long way from home.
9) Clear the exterior of your car – before setting off, clear all remaining snow and ice chunks from the exterior of your car for maximum visibility. It may take a few extra moments, but accidents can easily be caused due to poor outward visibility. Also, leftover ice chunks from the roof or hood of the vehicle may become hazardous to yourself and those on the road around you while driving.
10) Occasionally use your air conditioning – although a blast of cold air in cold conditions may be the last thing on your mind, air conditioning systems are most effective if they are used regularly and it is important to briefly run them in the winter months. Keeping them switched off for long periods will actually reduce their efficiency in the hot weather, when they are needed most.