With winter well on its way, now is the time to prepare for those extreme and hazardous driving conditions. Make sure that you and your vehicle are prepared for the extremes of bad weather which appear to be happening much more regularly.
With shorter days and longer nights, especially when the clocks go back at the end of October, driving in the winter can be extremely hazardous. It may be nice and sunny when you set out on your journey but all too quickly the weather can turn for the worse and driving can become extremely difficult, if not impossible. In very bad conditions, it may be wiser to avoid driving completely unless absolutely essential.
It is always worth preparing for any eventuality and making sure you drive to suit the road conditions. When driving in winter, ice is an ever present hazard and one which you should always be prepared for. Even if the weather is fine and sunny and the temperature is above freezing, ice patches can still form on untreated roads that are sheltered by hedges, buildings or trees. Extra care should be taken on roads with hollows or roads that pass under bridges and all roads that are exposed.
Is your vehicle ready for winter?
Here are a few things you can do to make sure your car is fit for the journey and help to prevent any unnecessary breakdowns:
Make sure your vehicle is serviced regularly, especially before the onset of winter. Have your battery and alternator tested to make sure they are up to the job – this is a free check that DRB Car Spares will carry out at their store in Warrington.
Check that all lights are clean and working and check the condition of your wipers and washer jets. Check the fluid level of the screen-wash bottle and top up with winter screen-wash to prevent freezing. It’s also a good idea to carry some spare screen-wash, preferably ready mixed, in your car, along with a good quality de-icer.
Keep an eye on all the fluid levels and ensure that your radiator is filled with the correct concentration of anti-freeze.
Check the tyres for any damage and that they are inflated to the correct pressures. Check the tyre tread depth which should be an absolute minimum of 3 mm. If you regularly travel to areas with high snowfall, it may be worth investing in a set of good quality snow socks or snow chains.
When driving in winter it is a good idea to carry an emergency kit, especially on long journeys – just in case. There is always the possibility that you may be stranded in your car overnight!
A basic emergency kit should include:
- Warm clothing, boots or wellingtons and a car blanket
- Emergency rations such as a hot drink and food
- Shovel and torch (check the batteries!)
- Jump leads, tow rope and high viz vests (one for each person in the car)
- Emergency kit such as the AA Winter Car Kit or Ring Emergency Kit
- Warning triangle and travel first aid kit
- Screen-wash, deicer and a good ice scraper
- Map in case you need to re-route due to flooding or accident
- Mobile phone & in-car charger
Many of the items above are available in the Winter Motoring section of our website.
Before starting your journey, make sure you have sufficient fuel in the tank. Check the weather conditions at your destination and on your route. You can get updates on live traffic information by visiting the Highways Agency website, and be prepared to delay your journey or change your route if necessary.
Have a safe journey – whatever the weather!