20 Oct Essential Tips for Safe Driving This Winter
Winter weather can present drivers with many additional challenges that need to be taken into account when getting behind the wheel. Adverse weather conditions can mean that you will need to adjust the way in which you drive to avoid any potential danger. Preparing your vehicle is also of paramount importance for staying safe in the winter months.
Today we look at top tips to prepare yourself and you car for any hazardous weather you may encounter.
Make Sure Your Car Servicing is Up to Date
While being essential at any time of the year, making sure your car is regularly serviced is vital especially during the winter months. Servicing will identify any problems with your vehicle and make sure everything is in good working order.
A good mechanic will check all essential mechanisms such as coolant, brakes, heating and oil to name but a few, and sort out any repairs that need to be made. Many reputable garages will offer a special ‘winter check-up’ which is well worth taking advantage of to ensure your vehicle is winter ready.
Regular Checks for Long Trips
Using the FORCES system can help you minimise any potential car issues when preparing for any long distance travelling. In other words:
- F -Fuel
- O– Oil
- R – Rubber
- C – Coolant
- E – Electrics
- S – Screen Wash
Fuel – ensure you have sufficient fuel in the tank to get you to where you are going. Running out of fuel in a remote place can spell disaster for you, particularly if it’s cold and dark.
Oil – Running out of oil can result in irreparable engine damage so it is imperative that you make sure your engine oil is topped up. To check the level is correct, open the hood of your car and use the dipstick. If you are in anyway unsure of how to do this make sure you seek assistance.
Rubber – checking your tires have sufficient tread is vitally important to ensure your car can grip the road efficiently during adverse weather conditions, especially on rainy and snowy days. The legal requirement is 1.6mm but ideally you should have at least 3mm to ensure safety. Tyre pressure should also be checked before going on trips. You can find the tyre pressure required for your car in the car manual. Most cars will have a digital pressure gauge on the dashboard which will indicate when the pressure is low, and air is needed. Another important rubber on cars that needs to be kept an eye on is the rubber on the windscreen wipers. These will need replacing if they are not cleaning the windscreen effectively or are sticking to the glass.
Coolant – this is the car’s antifreeze cooling system and needs to be monitored carefully. It can be topped up by mixing water with antifreeze using the correct ratio which will be found in the car’s manual.
Electrics – this entails checking all the lights are working properly. It s often helpful to have someone else walk around your car while you turn the lights on to make sure they are all functionable. Alternatively you can activate your hazard lights and check yourself. Checking the battery is also vitally important.
Screen Wash – the windscreen can be easily obscured by all sorts of dirt and debris that comes off the road, especially in winter when there is often ‘gritting’ taking place. Being able to clean your windscreen is a basic safety measure that will need to be prioritised especially in the colder months.
Emergency Kit Essentials
Getting stranded can be scary but it bad weather it can also be dangerous. This is why it is so important to make sure you have an emergency kit in your car at all times. So often we see on the news how motorways become snow logged and drivers end up stuck in their cars for hours on end, and sometimes even overnight. This can mean that you will be open to the elements including sub-zero temperatures.
Having certain items in the car for emergency situations can make all the difference. We recommend that you minimally have the following in your emergency kit:
- Water – or any other liquids such as a thermos of coffee or juice
- First Aid Kit
- High-vis vest – in case you need to leave the car
- Phone charger
- Jump leads
- Spade / shovel
- Extra clothing
So before you set off on your journey this winter make sure you have followed these great tips to ensure yours and your passengers safety.