With the arrival of cold weather we’d like to share some tips and good practice to ensure you and your vehicle are prepared for the challenges cold weather can present.
Keep an eye on weather reports so you know what weather to expect on your journey. Ensure you check weather for the whole route if you are travelling far as it may be different at various points.
If your vehicle windows are iced up use de-icer or a scraper, we’ve heard of customers windscreens cracking if they’ve used boiling water from a kettle! Keep an eye on de-icer levels and ensure you have a spare to hand.
If you start your car up to get warm ensure you never leave it unattended and running, in most cases insurance companies don’t pay out if it’s stolen while the keys were left in it and it was unattended. Using your air-con helps demist the screen quicker.
Before you start on your journey ensure you have enough fuel to get to your destination but also enough in reserve to cover any unforeseen circumstances such as crashes or diversions.
Another thing to check before your journey are basic things such as oil, and water levels. These checks should be done any time of year, but are particularly important during winter. Keep an eye on tyre pressures as well, properly inflated tyres will make driving in adverse weather easier and safer. Make sure you have plenty of tread to provide the necessary grip. Cold weather put a strain on the battery, so if the car has any trouble starting in the mornings get it checked as soon as possible!
Ensure your windows are clean and can be kept clean. This means checking your washer fluid is topped up and wipers are in good condition. Also make sure things like lights and numbers plates are kept clean.
Always carry a coat, gloves and hat in case you have to stop the car for an accident or breakdown.
Be careful of ice, not just on the road but also on pavements and car parks as you get to your car! Be wary of sideroads and country roads which may not have been gritted and always take more care and be prepared to stop if needed. Roads in the shade my still have ice so look ahead for these dangers. Also leave plenty of time for your journey so you’re not rushing.
In snow and ice you should start off in a higher gear than normal, so 2nd or even 3rd if possible. This reduces the power from your engine that is applied to the road and will help you start without spinning the wheels.
Going up hill you should leave plenty of room to the car in front and keep in a higher gear (be careful of stalling the engine though!). Leaving space to the car in front means if they get in difficulty then you should have time to take avoiding action. On steep hills with snow we often stop at the bottom until the car in front has got up, the last thing you want to do on a snowy hill is stop! It’s often possible to get up snowy hills when you have a run up and don’t stop.
Going down hill keep your car in as high a gear as possible, and let the engine slow you down. Feather the brake pedal and avoid any sharp or harsh inputs to brakes / throttle / steering.