In the cold weather, it’s no surprise that breakdowns and accidents become more common. You may find yourself driving on icy roads or in the snow, but don’t worry because we are here to give you the best winter driving tips, helping to keep you safe during these colder months.
No matter how well equipped or how experienced you think you are, having a winter kit in your car is always a good idea, just in case.
Car batteries and electrics
To start off our winter driving tips, we will look at how we can prolong batteries and electrics. We have mentioned in previous blogs that car batteries are rarely going to last you more than five years, and during the winter months, we put extra demand on them due to the use of our lights, heating and wipers.
What can you do?
- If your engine doesn’t start straight away, wait 30 seconds before attempting it again.
- If your car is parked up most of the time, give it a regular trickle charge (turn on to ensure battery doesn’t die).
- Use the starter in short bursts, around five seconds.
- Turn off electrical loads like lights, heated rear window and your front and rear wipers before starting your engine.
Check out this blog for winter car repairs you need to look out for -
Check your antifreeze levels!
During the winter months, if your engine becomes frozen or cracked you could face repairs that could cost you hundreds. Our next winter tip is to check your antifreeze levels. In winter, you need a 50/50 mix of antifreeze and water which helps protect your engine down to -34C. Most modern cars use a long-life antifreeze, but make sure you use the right type!
- If you have a continuous squealing noise when you start up means you could have a frozen water pump. Stop the engine straight away and let this thaw out, if you can move it to a heated garage to speed the process up.
- If your car is overheating and you haven’t long started on your journey to work, stop straight away before you cause major damage.
While this winter driving tip may seem like an obvious one, sometimes it may be easy to forget.
- Clean your windscreen inside and out to remove anything that may hinder your visibility. Keep the windscreen and other windows clean of dirt, snow and stickers to avoid being fined.
- When driving in the snow, clear all snow from the car as you don’t want any falling onto your windscreen and blocking your view.
- Your air conditioning will clear the screen faster and reduces condensation build-up.
- Don’t leave your wipers on auto when parked up, especially if there is a chance of frost. You don’t want your blades being frozen to the screen, this can damage both blades and wiper motor.
Are your tyres winter ready?
- During the winter months, you need at least 3mm of tread.
- Letting the air out of your tyres does not give you more grip and it’s unsafe.
- Only use snow chains if there’s enough snow!
- All-season or winter tyres are made from a special rubber helping to give you more grip.
Tips for driving in snow and ice
- DRIVE SLOW!
- Stopping distances are 10 times longer, gentle manoeuvres are key to keeping you and others safe on the road during winter conditions.
- Wear comfortable and dry shoes for driving.
- Avoid wheel spinning by pulling away in second gear, easing your foot off the clutch.
- When using your breaks, apply them gently.
- Automatic cars may have a winter mode, check your handbook to see which can assist with safer driving in the colder months.
Final tips for safer winter driving…
- Get up ten minutes early so you can defrost your car.
- Allow extra time for your journey.
- Check fuel levels, always aim to keep at least a quarter of a tank as you never know when you could face an unexpected delay.
- Allow your windows to clear completely before setting off.
- Plan your route for major roads as these are more likely to be cleared and gritted.
We want you to stay safe this winter, take the proper precautions and come prepared! Happy driving!