Below we have some simple tips that can help maximise your safety whilst travelling on the roads in various weather conditions.
We know how easy it is to do do the bare minimum to clear your windows and mirrors on a cold and wintry morning. However, it’s crucial that you have complete visibility around your vehicle before you begin a journey. Iced up windscreens and windows should be completely ice free before you drive. If your vision is not clear the risk of an accident is greatly increased and you may not be covered by your insurance if you failed to clear your view properly. Police now take a harsh stance against motorists who have failed to clear snow from their vehicles. It’s easy to leave that snow on the top of your roof but when that snow starts to fall off the car during transit, it can cause an obstruction to the other road users and cause and is potentially dangerous.
Police will also stop you on your journey if the number plate is covered by snow ice or dirt. It is a legal requirement that the registration number is visible at all times.
With foggy nights and dark mornings, it’s important the headlights are clean and dirt free to increase your visibility to other drivers and of course to help light your way on the roads.
With simple steps, you will maximise the safety of you and other road users. Keeping plenty of de-icer handy and give yourself 15 minutes extra in the mornings to fully clear your windows, using the cars blowers and air-con to help defrost your car.
DO NOT leave your engine running unattended, there are many reports each year of opportunist thieves who wait for the owner to leave the car and go back into the house. With the keys in the ignition and the engine running, it’s easy pickings for any thief to steal your vehicle.
Keep your windscreen washer full, as this will be crucial for maximum visibility during the winter. Your windscreen wipers should be in good condition but it’s important you don’t use them to remove any ice on the windscreen as this could damage the blades.
Anti-freeze is the coloured fluid which is found in radiators. It is used to prevent your engine and radiators from freezing in the winter.
Make sure that you regularly check your vehicles anti-freeze levels are between the maximum and minimum. Doing this will avoid potential damage to the engine or radiators, it could be more costly to fix than the price of some anti-freeze. If you don’t know which fluid to put into your vehicle, Contact us here and our team will tell you what you need to know.
Oil is the blood of your car and flows through your engine and cars system. Running on low oil levels can do a lot of damage to your engine and should be monitored every 1-2 weeks. It’s easy to check the oil levels with the use of the dipstick. Be sure to check the oil level is nicely balanced between the maximum and minimum levels.
In cold months, the electrical strain on your vehicle’s battery is greater than any other time of year. Using the heaters, lights and other auxiliary electrical items will increase the load on your battery. This can result in flat batteries and you should only use the power you need and be careful not to over run the battery. Switching off heaters periodically, removing auxiliary charging cables, turning lights off when the car is not in use will help to preserve battery life. In addition, ensure that your car is not left unused for long periods such as over a weekend; as your battery will be less likely to fail if it has a regular charge running through it.
Your tyres are the only part of the car which are in contact with the road. The quality of tyres, therefore, has a big impact on the drivability of vehicles; something which becomes increasingly important as the condition of roads deteriorates.
Although the minimum tread depth on tyres required by law is 1.6mm, we recommend that motorists have no less than 2mm and preferably 3mm for winter driving. The tread is what disperses lose water and snow from the roads so that you do not aquaplane. A deep tread of 3mm will, therefore, disperse much more water than one of 1.6mm and make it less likely that you will lose control of your vehicle.
Tyre pressures are also important. It is recommended that you check these at least once a week during the winter; ensuring that they reach the manufacturers recommended levels. You will be able to find these in your vehicle handbook or on a sticker on the inside of the driver’s door.
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