Hooray, one more month remains until the spring but there is still a chance for Arctic big Freeze to hit Britain hard next month with freezing rains, snow grains, ice pancakes and of course, all the chaos that come along with it. If that happens it would be a good idea to postpone trips and stay at home watching telly in a warm couch sipping a favourite hot drink. But if it’s not possible then make sure your vehicle is ready for the worst winter conditions. Here are some tips that may help you go through winter disasters:
- Keep at least half a tank of fuel in your vehicle at all times as you don’t want to run out of fuel in the middle of the icy road.
- Keep also extra food such as chocolate or energy bars and water, warm clothing, power bank, flashlight, blankets, first-aid kit, and even a cigarette lighter to warm a key for a frozen lock.
- Clear snow off the roof of your car as it can slip down onto your windscreen or rear window or it may even cause an accident if blown off into the path of other road users.
- Use de-icer and a proper ice scraper instead of credit card or other random things that may damage your windscreen.
- Use non-freezing screenwash as otherwise the screen will be covered in ice and top it up before setting off.
- Check windscreen wipers are in good condition and that they efficiently clear the glass. When it’s really cold, lift your wipers off the screen when parking overnight and remember to turn your wipers off before you switch off the ignition.
- Reduce the risk of your vehicle being stolen by keeping an eye on your car while the windscreen is defrosting as otherwise your claim will be rejected if this happens.
- If you have enough money and space buy winter tyres or all-season tyres as these don’t just offer much-improved grip on the snowy and icy surface compared with standard tyres, but they perform better on cold asphalt too.
- Make sure your tyres are properly inflated up to the pressure recommended in your owners’ manual and have plenty of tread. If a tyre pressure monitoring system is fitted, reset this once you’ve topped up.
Brakes and driving:
- Pull away in second gear, easing your foot off the clutch gently to avoid wheel-spin.
- Double or treble your regular stopping distance from the vehicle in front so you’re not relying on your brakes to be able to stop.
- Always brake gently to avoid locking the wheels and losing control. No matter whether you have antilock brakes or not, keep the heel of your foot on the floor and use the ball of your foot to apply firm, steady pressure on the brake pedal.
Lighting and visibility:
- It’s extremely important to make sure not only that you can see where you’re going but also that other drivers can see you.
- Headlights should be used when visibility is seriously reduced. If you use fog lights, remember to switch them off when visibility improves so they don’t blind other drivers.
- Batteries have to work much harder in cold conditions for a piece of extra electrical equipment like the lights and the heater.
- No matter how well you’ve prepared for drastic weather conditions there’s always a chance that your car might et you down so make sure you’ve got an adequate breakdown cover in place.