Being prepared for driving in any weather is key for the safety of you and other road users, but in winter extra steps should be made to ensure you will be able to cope in the dark and in the cold.
Take a look at these top tips for preparing for winter driving:
- Check your tyres
Ideally you should switch over to cold weather tyres before temperatures drop. However, if this isn’t possible, be sure to check that your current tyres are in good condition.
They should have a legal minimum of 1.6mm depth in the tread, but for snow and ice this should be as close to 3mm as possible. They should also be clear of any bulging and cuts, as this can affect how safe they are.
- Don’t over inflate your tyres
It’s common for drivers to be eager to keep their tyres as inflated as possible, but this could actually cause you to slide in wet and icy weather as tyres become hard and rigid in cold temperatures.
By inflating your tyres to the maximum indicated pressure or just below, you will be more prepared for the cold weather as the tyres will keep some flexibility.
- Check your fluids
Keeping anti-freeze topped up in winter is essential for giving your car a helping hand. Make sure that the anti-freeze you purchase is suitable for minus temperatures.
Other fluids such as windscreen wash and engine oil should be checked regularly too. Engine oil keeps your engine working at its best and will help prevent breakdowns, whilst windscreen wash runs out twice as fast in winter because of the extra fluid and grit that is spraying off the roads.
- Check your wipers
Wipers are vital in any down pour, so keeping them in top shape is just as important as looking after your tyres or making sure your lights work.
The rubber will wear down over time, so if your wipers don’t seem to be working properly and smear a lot, it may be time to look at getting them replaced. In cold weather, it’s a good idea to lift your wipers up and off the windscreen overnight to prevent them from getting frozen to the window and the rubber tearing off.
- Check your battery
You can give your battery a visual check by looking to see whether there is any sign of corrosion on the connections or any visible damage and leaks on the battery. If your battery is more than 3 years old, it may be worth taking it to your local garage to get them to test it, as it is likely that it will start losing juice once it gets past this point.
- Keep a survival kit in your car
Keeping items such as a blanket, phone charger and torch in your car is always a good idea during the winter just in case you break down. Other items such as a shovel, wellington boots and extra wiper fluid should be considered too, as these could help in the event of adverse weather such as snow.