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Tips For Winter Driving

The winter is an exciting season filled with exciting events such as Christmas and the New Year however it can also be one of the most dangerous times of the year to be on the road. Snow is a time of fun and awe for many but snow and ice may lead to some of the most serious weather conditions during the year. Many motorists have likely experienced poor weather conditions during winter and this is why it’s important to be prepared and ready for the months ahead. As the nights start to get darker and colder, there are various checks that you can make on your vehicle as well as precautions that you can take should you be out on the road.

 

At Holders of Congresbury, we are representatives of the SEAT franchise and are a highly reputable used car showroom in Weston.

 

So read on and find out more about driving in winter conditions. Below are our tips and tricks for winter driving.

 

 

1. Remember - You Are Likely to Have Been Less Active on the Road

 

Through recent events across the world and throughout 2020, it’s highly likely that you haven’t been using your car as much as you used to. This, therefore, means that you may have had extended periods of time where your vehicle was not in use and this can pose a potential problem for older cars. Older batteries can have issues if they are left for extended periods of time without use so it’s important to try and regularly use or at least run your car so you don’t run into any unexpected nasty surprises.

 

It’s important to remember that you may not be as used to driving as you were before. The winter can also be particularly difficult for new or newer drivers as they may face hazards that they have not experienced before. Snow and black ice can be highly dangerous and you may not be as familiar with the various vehicle maintenance checks that need to be carried out.

 

2. Be Prepared if You Have to Make a Journey

 

If you find that you have to get on the road when conditions are poor or severe - it’s important to be prepared. Ensure that you have essential equipment packed such as a shovel, first aid kit, satnav or map, torch, hi-vis jackets & warning triangles, a fully charged phone and charging bank or in-car charger. It’s also important to stop if you need to make a phone call or have a hands-free device so that you can stay concentrated on the road. Snacks can also help keep you concentrated on long journeys.

 

3. Pack a Winter Emergency Kit

 

If you have to travel in very bad conditions in the winter, it’s vital that you are prepared for an emergency with an emergency kit. As well as the essential winter items mentioned above, we’ve included some items that you may want to include in your kit:

 

  • Warm clothing in case you end up stranded while on the road. The winter is one of the most common times for vehicle breakdowns to occur.
  • Emergency & long-life food & water rations can help in the event of a breakdown. If you are travelling on a long journey, a thermos flask of hot liquid such as coffee or soup can also help you keep warm.
  • Warning whistles, as well as high visibility equipment, are vital in conditions with poor visibility.
  • Jumpstart cables can help you get out of a difficult situation if you face a breakdown. A fellow motorist can help you get back on the road and back to safety.
  • A tow rope is vital in poor conditions as larger vehicles can assist you. Don’t be afraid to ask for help but always be cautious, wear high visibility equipment. A warning whistle can also be used to draw attention to motorists.

 

4. Carry Out Frequent Checks on Your Car on & off the Road

 

 

It’s important to carry out frequent checks of your vehicle regardless of the season however it’s even more important to carry out these checks in the winter. Freezing conditions can cause troubles with your engine and this is definitely the season where you do not want to have any unexpected issues when on the road. 

 

Checks While on the Road:

 

  • Check that your wheel is steering to the left or right when driving. This could indicate tracking issues and can be more dangerous when you need specific control of your car. If you skid on ice - this can also make recovery more difficult.
  • Listen for sounds such as rattling while the car is in motion. This could indicate that something is wrong.
  • Check that suspension feels correct and that the engine is not giving resistance. If you feel understeer, oversteer or difficulties in transmission - these could all indicate a problem.
  • Test lights regularly as the nights get extremely dark in winter so it’s vital that your lights work correctly.
  • Turn off windscreen wipers before getting out of your car. If you have frost on your windscreen they can automatically turn on and this can damage your wipers.

 

Visual Inspections:

 

  • Check tyres regularly. Visually inspect them for damage, tears and embedded objects. Check tread depth does not exceed 1.6mm. Check tyre pressure.
  • Test lights are working while stationary as it’s easier to check front lights and brake lights. Check in darkness or when there is little light.
  • Check under the hood that everything is in good working order. Check engine oil levels and make sure that you have anti-freezing windscreen washer in the tank.