How can you avoid common problems drivers face in winter months?
The festive season is nearly upon us – which means darker evenings and an annual occurrence of terrible weather that brings even the hardiest amongst us to their knees.
OK – that was a little dramatic. But you get our gist.
Winter brings conditions can be particularly dangerous compared to other seasons, with reduced visibility and the occasional bout of snow – so it’s very important that you take the proper precautions.
Some of you may be newer to driving, and unfamiliar with some scenarios you may encounter during these months, so we will take you through some of our best tips to stay safe on the roads this winter.
But it’s not all about being cautious – there are a number of things you can do to keep your car well-maintained and healthy…
1. Keep your engine coolant topped up
Essentially, the engine coolant will help to cool your car down in warm conditions, and warm it up in colder conditions.
So, it’s important that you get a decent mix of water and antifreeze into your engine. Some vehicles will specify the percentages required, but in winter, the standard ratio you should use is roughly 60% antifreeze, 40% water.
But do note that over time, your antifreeze will dilute, so in colder winter months, make it a priority to keep topping it up – too much water may see it freeze up in very cold conditions.
2. Prepare your tyres for icy conditions
Tyres should be checked regularly, no matter the conditions – to make sure that they are suitable to drive with; this becomes extra important when winter is involved.
As the roads become more and more like an ice rink, it’s essential that you have the correct tyre depth and tread.
Normally, we would recommend a tread of 1.6mm, but if your area is prone to heavy snowfall, or you just want a little more grip, then we would advise a 3mm depth on your tyres.
3. Check your lights are working
Longer evenings and seemingly darker nights mean your visibility on the roads is often impaired. Regularly checking that your lights are working is just one of the many ways you can keep yourself safe this winter.
Not only should you regularly check that your lights are working properly, but also take a look from time to time, to make sure there isn’t any muck on your lights – otherwise it could severely reduce your visibility, not only for you, but other road users.
4. Are you charged up?
Just like you – your car needs to warm up in winter.
As you can imagine, this takes up quite a bit more strain on your batteries, going into colder months. Unfortunately, this is pretty unavoidable when the temperature starts plummeting – but don’t worry, your heating won’t sap all of your car’s energy.
But, you’ll want to make sure it works properly. Usually, car batteries have a life-span of about 5 years, so if you aren’t sure that yours will last much longer, or you are frequently unable to start your car, get it checked out at a garage.
5. Are you covered?
No, we don’t mean physically.
Although, it is probably wise to put on a few layers as it begins to get colder.
What we actually mean is that you check exactly what you’re covered for. Comprehensive car insurance can be very beneficial in the winter months.
On top of this, if you aren’t already – maybe see about getting some sort of emergency assistance, in case you are stuck. We would recommend that owners of older cars prioritise this, going into the depths of winter.
Check to see whether you need breakdown cover, here.
6. What are our best practices for winter driving?
Aside from wrapping up in every available garment you own, there are some simple, yet (somewhat) clever tips we can give you this season…
Always leave the house an extra 10 minutes early – leaving that tiny bit earlier can help you to clear your windscreen, adjust for wintery conditions, and give you longer to listen to your music in the car.
Try to plan your journey around using busier roads. Grit will be applied to major roads more frequently, thus making them a lot safer to drive on.
Always keep either a scraper or spray close to hand to help battle the ice on your car.
Do not leave your keys in the ignition and leave your car outside to warm up – this will be a beacon for car crime, and could invalidate your insurance policy.
Pack a winter emergency kit in your car, filled with some warm clothes, a portable power bank, and some form of blanket – as well as other essentials.
Winter may seem idyllic, with Christmas on the horizon, and a general sense of merry-ness. But driving during this season can become significantly more troublesome, with adverse weather conditions and reduced visibility for more hours of the day.
But make sure that you prepare yourself properly, and help to conquer this time of the year, whilst behind the wheel. Most importantly, keep driving safely and remain cautious.
If you’d like to get a quote with us, complete it online now, or contact us on 0333 103 7897