The long nights are drawing in and the temperatures are steadily dropping, which means it’s time to start preparing your car for winter.
Winter preparations are often neglected by motorists, particularly in Britain where were we don’t tend to have the harsh winters that the likes of Scandinavia and North America.
To help us get ready for the cold mornings and nights ahead, Richard Gladman, road safety charity IAM RoadSmart’s head of driving and riding standards, has put together some tips to help motorists get ready for the winter.
IAM RoadSmart’s winter road safety tips
- It’s important to keep the windscreen clean. Try to get scratches, abrasions and chips fixed as colder temperatures can make the damage worse. Keep the windscreen washer topped up with a more concentrated screen wash mix to ensure it doesn’t freeze in action. And don’t forget your de-icer.
- Check your tyres. The legal limit of a tread depth may be 1.6mm but anything under 3mm will see a potential fall off in grip and braking performance. If long-term cold weather is forecast, and you can afford it, invest in a set of winter tyres approved by your car manufacturer. Don’t follow urban driver myths of reducing the tyre pressure to get more grip – it simply doesn’t work.
- Set up a pre-winter check list. List things that need to be checked such as the car battery, bulbs, wiper blades and electrics. You don’t want to be stranded in a cold car in the middle of night waiting for the recovery team to get you up and running again. Take a look at our set of tips of the eight essentials to carry in your vehicle
- Dress appropriately for the weather. It may be surprising but too many drivers dress based on a working car heater. If it breaks or you are stranded you can easily be caught cold.
- Start to plan for the really bad weather with a survival kit in the boot. Spare clothes, a torch, mobile phone charger, some emergency rations such as water, chocolate and a tow rope and shovel to help yourself and others.
“Winter is unpredictable but Highways England and your local authority are already planning for it by building up their salt stocks and getting the snow clearing equipment out of storage,” said Gladman. “If they are getting ready then why shouldn’t you? With a little bit of preparation you can avoid getting stuck and adding to the problems that bad weather can bring.”