13 December 2017

Posted by Discount Insurance on Wednesday, December 13, 2017
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Christmas is getting closer and what this means for many of us is travelling to see family!
As the temperatures turn colder however it is vital to remember to maintenance your car and be aware of the weather conditions to ensure you get to your destination safely.

Prepare for the journey ahead
Make sure you don’t forget any presents! In addition to all-important gifts make sure you prepare in case your journey takes a turn for the worse. Make sure you’ve packed de-icing equipment such as a de-icer spray and ice scraper as well as a hazard warning triangle, a first aid kit, extra warm clothes, shoes and blankets, a phone charger pack and a working torch. Also make sure you have some food and drinks with you in case your journey takes longer than expected!

Keep up to date on the weather conditions
Make sure you switch on local radio to get up to date information on the weather as well as traffic conditions. Always make sure you have an alternative route planned in case of worsening weather conditions or traffic.

Adapt to conditions
The majority of us have very little experience of driving in extreme cold conditions, so take time to think about how this may affect your driving skills. If you find yourself driving in snow or ice covered roads, reduce your speed to limit any risk of skidding. Most tyres will lose a lot of grip in these conditions! Think about getting winter tyres or all-season tyres if you travel a lot in the winter months.

When it comes to tyres it is vital to have at least 3mm of tread for the winter, do not let air out of your tyres in order to get more grip - it does not work and it is unsafe. Only use snow chains if there is enough snow to prevent damage to the road surface.
Ensure you keep a bigger distance than usual from the vehicle in front, as sudden breaking with no grip can also cause you to skid in the road.

Clear your view
Make sure your windscreen is completely clear of snow or ice, as well as all your mirrors! It is vital you can see properly especially when driving in the dark or when it is snowing. Factor in an extra 10 minutes to completely clear your windscreen of ice and snow. Make sure your windscreen is also clear on the inside. To get rid of condensation use the air-con as it demists the screen faster. Make sure to check your wipers, if they are worn make sure to replace them. When you park up make sure you turn them off if they freeze to the screen you could damage the blades or wiper motor when you turn the ignition on.

Making sure there is no snow on your roof is also important as the extra weight can also impact your steering and most importantly braking speed.

Take it slow
Stopping distances can be 10 times longer in the snow, gentle manoeuvres are the key to safe driving in ice and snow. Make sure you wear comfortable and dry shoes for driving. When you are pulling away do so in second gear, easing your foot off the clutch gently to avoid wheel-spin, if you drive an automatic vehicle check the handbook as some cars have a winter mode or recommend selecting ‘2’ in slippery conditions. If you have to use your brakes ensure you apply them gently.

If you are going uphill ensure you leave enough space to the car in front of you, waiting until it is clear so you don’t have to stop part way up. Keep a constant speed and try to avoid changing gears on the hill.

While going downhill make sure you slow down before the hill and use lower gears rather than braking, leave as much room as you can to the car in front.

Check your breakdown cover

Make sure you have the details for your breakdown cover provider as well as checking your car insurance policy documents to make sure you know exactly what you are covered for.

If you are taking a trip make sure you have your Travel Insurance and Breakdown Cover sorted, call Discount Insurance on 0800 294 4522 for a quick quote!