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Helpful tips for driving in winter

We are very lucky in the UK it's not often that we experience prolonged extreme winter weather, however in recent years we have had waves of ice and snow that have caused havoc on the roads. Here is a short list of simple things you can do to prepare yourself for winter driving.

  1. The most important thing to consider first is whether your journey is absolutely necessary. The best way to stay out of trouble on icy roads is to not drive.
  2. Get your battery checked. Batteries have got much better in recent years, however they don't like the cold are more likely to fail when the temperature falls.
  3. Make sure you have the correct mixture of anti-freeze in the engine cooling system. Modern anti-freeze protects your engine in all conditions, hot and cold, so should be kept at the correct levels all year.
  4. Your windscreen washer fluid should be kept topped up as winter driving can get messy. Use the correct mixture of screenwash and water as this acts as anti-freeze. Don't use washing up liquid, it will freeze solid.
  5. Have your air-con system checked as performance can drop off over time. Your air-con is vital in bad weather as it demists the windows far more efficiently when it's working properly giving you better visibility.
  6. It's a good idea to carry a small bag of essentials in your car, just in case you get stuck in snow. Consider including food, water, warm clothes and a blanket.
  7. Keep your phone battery charged and have an in-car charger so you can contact the rescue services should you run in to trouble.
  8. Try and avoid minor roads that may not be gritted. Carrying a shovel in the car can be very useful so you can dig the car out of snow, especially if you need to drive on minor roads.
  9. Winter driving requires extra tread in your tyres, the tread should be at least 3mm deep. If you live in a location susceptable to snow and ice consider fitting winter tyres*.
  10. Keep your fuel tank topped up, just in case you get caught out on icy roads. This will mean you have plenty of fuel to keep the engine running when you need heat and light.

If you must drive in bad conditions, adjust your driving style. Driving in the rain, snow and ice not only makes the car harder to control, it can also create poor visibility which cuts down on reaction time. Think ahead and give yourself extra time to make your journey.

If you have your car serviced on regular basis it should be ready for winter conditions. If you're unsure please call us on 01202 528 667 and we will check your car for winter driving. For most makes and models these checks are usually free of charge.

* Some insurers consider fitting winter tyres as a vehicle modification. Please check how this might affect your policy with your insurer before fitting winter tyres.