With the winter months sneaking up on us and the threat of some wintery driving conditions, we need to ensure our cars and winter driving skills and rules are up to scratch.
While it is still mild, we need to have some forward thought to the weather that may approach that could be indicative of a harsh winter.
This means that both our cars and driving skills will have to make some changes to accommodate the changeable weather conditions that may come, such as:
● Freezing fog
● Wet weather
● Darker driving conditions earlier in the day
Some of these conditions are obviously not exclusive to the winter months from late October to early March; they are bound to be more prevalent during this time.
Taking care and extra precautions in adverse weather conditions is of paramount importance. We need to ensure that both our vehicles and our driving skills are up to the changes to make sure we remain safe and visible at all times.
So what can we do?
Here are some great ways to prepare ourselves for a winter onslaught of changeable weather conditions.
Pay close attention to your tyres.
The tyres on your vehicle are the only means of contact with the tarmac on the road, and when the weather changes from hour to hour in the winter, they can be the make or break of successful winter driving.
Your tyres need to be in the best condition possible, including everything from the tread depth to the overall condition of the rubber.
Some people recommend changing their tyres before the winter approaches. This can be a great idea to also make sure your tyres are weather appropriate, so you could consider changing them to winter weather tyres.
If you don't wish to have the additional expense of specific winter tyres, make sure you get your current tyres looked over by a professional to make sure they will carry you through safely the winter months.
Make sure your lights are working and the lenses are clean.
A lot of the winter is spent in darker conditions, so it is super important to make sure you are completely visible to other road users and that you can see clearly via the lights you have.
Your lights are more than just your headlights; you need to check the functionality of everything that needs to be reviewed, including:
● Regular and full beam headlamps
● Reversing lights
● Any indicator light that may be placed on wing mirrors
If you need to, replace any bulbs that have seen better days and make sure they are positioned correctly for complete visibility. Ensure that the lenses are clean both inside and out, so every light can be seen fully and clearly, and you can see where you are going.
In particular, keep your windscreen clean and free of smears to enable your dash cam to record with no interruptions in case you need to use the footage at a later date.
Adapt Your Vehicle Fluids
In the winter, we are often met with very cold mornings and evenings, so we will start to have those occurrences of “warming the car up” before proceeding on your journey.
Adapting your vehicle fluids to meet the winter conditions will assist in helping you to stay weather appropriate in the colder months. You can consider putting changing fluids in your care, such as anti-freeze, so you can continue a comfortable and visible journey without the need to take any extra precautions.
Take Your Time
The only thing that will be achieved in the winter months if you rush around is an accident or incident, so the best thing we can do is take our time when going from one place to another in adverse weather.
Of course, if you do not need to go anywhere, the best advice would be to not attempt any unnecessary journey, but if you do have to go onto the roads in winter conditions, make sure you:
● Leave sufficiently more time than you think you need to get to your destination.
● Use roads that are likely to be the safest, such as those roads that are likely to have been gritted or continually used, to reduce the potential of poor road conditions.
● Keep a considerable distance from the car in front of you if there is a need to brake harshly or avoid a collision.
● Make sure all your screens and windows are clear before moving the vehicle.
● Avoid dirt tracks and keep to main roads if possible.
Pack A Winter Survival Kit
While we never think that breaking down will happen to us when it does, it is inevitable it will be in the worst conditions possible!
Breaking down is not great at any time of year. Still, in winter, we need to be extra cautious in light of the adverse weather conditions and the potential of freezing temperatures.
A winter breakdown survival kit that can be kept in the boot of your car needn’t be complicated, but there are many things that you should include as a “just-in-case” measure, such as:
● A foil blanket
● A shovel
● Bottled water
● A flash of hot drink such as tea or coffee
● A reflective warning triangle
● A regular blanket or 2
● A towing iron
● Something to eat, such as crackers, biscuits or a small sandwich
Suppose you break down in horrendous weather conditions. In that case, any roadside rescue may likely take a long time to arrive, so you must stay warm and hydrated.
The trick with winter preparation is anticipation.
If you can prepare yourself and your vehicle for the absolute worst-case weather scenario, then you will never be caught out if the worst happens.
Making sure your car and your skills are up to scratch will be the best thing you can do, including making sure your tyres, lights, and preparation are all up to the best standards they can be.
Of course, if you dont need to go out, then stay at home and stay safe! But in essential travelling situations, stay safe, keep your distance and be overly prepared, just in case!