Free Car Mag are hoping that our Lorry is finished soon so that we can tackle adverse weather conditions in style. Meanwhile, Venson Automotive Solutions recommends drivers to prepare their cars now for winter to reduce the risk of an accident or an unnecessary repair bill. The advice comes as the Department of Transport (DfT) reveals a 4 percent year-on-year increase in road traffic accidents.
Gil Kelly, Operations Director for Venson Automotive Solutions, says: “Whilst the DfT report says there is no singular factor that causes road accidents, there are several common influencers, such as adverse weather, which can affect driver behaviour. Different driving conditions present different hazards and it is important to understand how you need to adapt your driving style to counter the environment.”
Crucially, drivers need to know how to alter their driving style in order to stay safe when dealing with extreme weather. Many people don’t realise that stopping distances can be 10 times longer in ice and snow, whilst gentle manoeuvres are key to staying in control.
“Winter driving throws all sorts of challenges at motorists, from wet, icy roads to dazzling sun and poor visibility,” continues Gil Kelly. “Planning ahead can make all the difference, and includes making sure the vehicle is properly maintained and regular vehicle checks are carried out.”
Top tips for winter driving
Save the snooze – getting up at least 10 minutes earlier might feel tortuous when it’s cold outside, but it gives you time to prepare your vehicle before you set off.
Plan ahead – Check out the local news for traffic updates and weather warnings. Plan alternative routes if adverse weather blocks your route. Plan routes which favour main roads as they are more likely to be gritted and cleared of snow and ice first.
Adapt your style – Remember stopping distances are 10 times longer in ice and snow. Gentle manoeuvres are key to safe driving. If you do get stuck in snow, straighten the steering and clear the snow from the wheels. Put a sack or old rug in front of the driving wheels to give the tyres some grip.
Kit out the car – Besides an ice scraper and de-icer, it’s worth carrying a mobile phone with fully charged battery and an in-car charger, torch, first-aid kit, tow rope, blankets, warm coat and boots, jump leads, snow shovel, warning triangle, an old sack or rug (to put under the wheels if you do get stuck) and water repellent spray.
How to prepare your vehicle for winter
Check your car before each journey to ensure it is prepared for the conditions.
Windscreen wipers should be checked regularly and should be switched to the ‘off’ position when parked to avoid them freezing.
Headlights should be checked, not only to see if they are working, but that they are cleaned and aimed correctly.
Keep number plates clean as you can be fined if they are dirty and illegible.
Use a good quality de-icer and proper scraper to clean glass, also rid the bonnet and roof of snow as this can fall down and obscure vision through the windscreen.
Check tyre tread depths and tyre pressures on a regular basis; if your tyres are damaged or worn it can seriously affect your car’s safety and handling. Check tyre pressures at least once a month and when the tyres are cold.
You can face a hefty fine if your tyres do not meet the legal tread depth. The tread should measure 1.6mm throughout a continuous strip in the centre three quarters of the tread around the entire tyre circumference