6 Top Tips for driving in winter weather – including emergency supplies
Keeping your vehicle well maintained is important all year round, but even more so in winter. With snow on the way across Britain this week, ProofCam, the dash cam manufacturer, has put together some tips to help drivers who are setting off in winter weather to arrive at their destinations safely.
1. Check the weather conditions!
Seems obvious, but before setting off it’s worth checking sites like RAC Traffic Information and Highways Agency Traffic Information for real-time information. You can always keep an ear out for travel and weather updates from the car radio too. It’s also sensible to let relatives and friends know your intended route and expected arrival time and, where possible, travel with others.
2. Check the screen wash
Make sure you have enough screen wash and that the concentration is suitable for cold conditions. You should be looking for protection that goes down to -10 degrees Celsius and if you live in areas subject to the greatest extremes of weather, down to -20 degrees. If you don’t use a good quality screen wash there is a danger your washer pump could freeze. This might well lead to the fuse blowing and your wipers not working because they are often on the same fuse.
3. Do you have enough anti-freeze?
Ensure that your coolant is between the minimum and maximum markers. It’s also important that there is sufficient anti-freeze in the coolant. If you’re uncertain, have a look at your handbook or get a local garage to check the strength. Anti-freeze is cheap but damage from a frozen engine can be very expensive to fix.
4. Are your tyres up to the job?
Check the conditions of your tyres to see if there is adequate tread. Look for damage such as splits or bulges and, of course, check the pressure. While you can usually check the pressure at a petrol station, it can work out quite expensive. Far better is to invest in a little electric pump that plugs into the cigarette lighter and leave it in the back of your car. Halfords has a good selection to choose from here, from around £20. If you live in an area at particular at risk of snow consider purchasing winter tyres or snow socks which give you greater traction and control.
Check wiper blades for damage and replace if necessary. When wiper blades become frozen to glass it is very easy to damage them when freeing them up.
6. Make sure you have emergency supplies!
Obviously you don’t want to break down, but it’s always important to gather a few items at the start of the winter season and keep them in your car – just in case. Some suggestions include:
- Ice scraper and de-icer
- Torch and spare batteries – or a wind-up torch
- Warm clothes and blankets – for you and all passengers
- First aid kit
- Jump start cables
- Food and a warm drink in a thermos
- Reflective warning sign
- Road atlas
- Sunglasses – the glare off the snow can be dazzling
- Mobile phone charger
- Candles – for emergency heating!
- Invest in a dash cam – this will be key for insurance purposes if you happen to be involved in an accident. To find out more, head to http://www.racdashcam.co.uk/.