18 September 2013

Posted by Discount Insurance on Wednesday, September 18, 2013
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As much as we hate to admit it - summer is over, and as the days start to get chillier, it is important your vehicle is fully prepared for the onset of winter.    

Your local garage should offer a full winter service, which is advisable. However, there are some simple measures you can also take to make sure your vehicle is ready for the change in weather.   

 Before you drive

  • Check your oil, brake fluid and water levels.
  • Check your tyres - good tyres are essential on icy roads. The legal minimum tread is 1.6mm.
  • Check your tyre pressure.
  • Make sure the anti-freeze in your radiator is at the correct level.
  • Also add anti-freeze to your windscreen washer fluid.
  • Inspect your vehicle’s lights, making sure that your front, rear and hazard lights are working properly.
  • Make sure your vehicle has full breakdown cover in case of an accident or emergency.
  • Clear any snow or ice off your car each time that you travel. Don’t forget the roof and your head and taillights. Be sure to take these extra few moments, as it’s quicker in the long run than dealing with an accident due to poor visibility.
  • Make sure that your mobile phone is fully charged, and that you bring it with you in case of an emergency. It is also a good idea to leave some loose change in the car in case you need to use a payphone.
  • Ensure that you keep a snow/ice scraper and a shovel in your vehicle. Other useful items to keep in your vehicle are a first aid kit, blankets, extra warm clothing, a torch and some snacks.
  • Listen to your local radio station for announcements about accidents and road closings. Plan your route ahead of time to avoid any roads that become dangerous during bad weather.
  • In extreme weather conditions, ask yourself: is this journey absolutely essential? before setting off.

Driving in wintery conditions

  • Drive with care, even if the roads have been gritted.
  • Stopping distances can be ten times greater than on dry roads, so keep well back from the road user ahead.
  • Take extra care when overtaking vehicles spreading salt or other de-icer, particularly if you are riding a motorcycle or cycle.
  • Be prepared for the road conditions to change over relatively short distances.
  • Drive at a slow speed, in as high a gear as possible, also be gentle when accelerating and braking.
  • Loss of control is more likely on bends, so take extra care when approaching. Brake progressively on the straight before you reach the bend, having slowed down, steer smoothly round the bend.
  • For more tips on driving in wintery weather conditions, please visit this Government advice page.

Richard Williams