It’s that time of year when the weather can take a turn for the worse at a moment’s notice. Which can take a lot of drivers and their vehicles by surprise. Which is why it’s prudent to ensure that your vehicle is in tip top condition ahead of any impending bad weather. The sort which you may have heard is forecast for great swathes of the UK this week.
Sub-zero temperatures which usher in icy road surfaces, along with bitterly cold and driving winds aren’t a particularly joyous prospect when setting out on unavoidable journeys in our cars. But rather than postpone or indeed, fear venturing out, instead carry out the necessary checks to protect yourself against any mishaps or inconveniences. Or worse still, misadventure.
Be Safe, Be Seen, Be Sensible
Echoing the sentiments of the UK’s leading motoring safety and breakdown organisations, WCC Neston is also urging motorists to not only take care and plan journeys in advance, but to safeguard theirs - and other road users’ - wellbeing by preparing their vehicles before heading off.
Treacherous conditions make for challenging driving at this time of year. That’s a given. Which is why the mechanical health of your car is every bit as crucial - if not more so - than drivers’ awareness when they’re out and about on the roads.
In this bite-size guide we provide simple pointers which will minimise both delays and risk.
Avoid driving if you can. Or rearrange your journey. Until such time as the driving conditions improve
The chances are, if you suffer a breakdown over the winter period, you won’t be alone. Meaning, you might be joining a long queue of fellow broken down motorists. The upshot is that you may have a longer roadside wait than you could anticipate. So the moral of this story is, like a good scout; always be prepared
But Just What Does Being Prepared Mean/Include?......
It means various things.
For example, checking that your battery is in good shape
And your fuel reserves. Don’t attempt to venture anywhere without at least a quarter of a tank of fuel, to pre-empt unexpected hold-ups
Listening to weather updates too. In the world of social media in which we all work, rest and play, there’s really no excuses for being caught out by inclement weather. Plan your subsequent travels accordingly
Also, don’t do that thing you still see people doing. That’s scraping a tiny porthole on the driver’s side of their front windscreen. Which they think is just enough to see the road immediately in front of them. There’s a collective noun for motorists who practice this art, and we all know what it is. Ensure that your entire windscreen and all other windows are completely clear of snow and ice, along with your lights and registration plates before heading out
Don’t forget to stockpile winter woollens, those long duvet-style coats you see folk wearing and enough Pot Noodles to survive a zombie apocalypse. Together with a shovel, fully charged smartphone, torch, ice scraper, water, jump leads, first aid kit and possibly a supply of sand or gravel. Perhaps keep an old carpet offcut or rug in your vehicle, which will come in very handy when placed in front of the driving wheels to create tyre grip. Consider all of this emergency kit
On the subject of wardrobe choices, wear comfortable, dry footwear, to make sure your feet don’t slip on pedals
Don’t drive like a loon. In wintry conditions keep your speeds to a conservative pace. And leave plenty of space between yourself and the vehicle directly in front of you. Stopping distances can be 10 times longer on icy surfaces. Maintaining slow speeds and gentle manoeuvres are imperative when driving safely in ice and snow
Brace yourself for the sudden onset/deterioration in existing driving conditions
Take timely breaks if you’re driving any distance. The levels of alert when you’re negotiating winter weather on the roads is ramped up to the max. Ergo, you’re likely to get increasingly drained
Should I Drive In Any Particular Way In Wintery Conditions?
Yes. broadly-speaking, with a lot of caution and awareness. Of everything from road surface conditions, current elements, other road users and your own driving talent.
But other than that, think about pulling away in second gear, and carefully releasing the clutch pedal to actively side-step potential wheel spin.
Elsewhere, always apply the foot brake in a measured fashion, and maintain a constant speed. Should you find yourself stuck in snow or ice, remember to straighten the steering and remove any compacted snow from around the wheels/wheel arches.
Let WCC Winterproof YOUR Vehicle
If you wish to give your vehicle a winter health check, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our friendly customer service team to book in an available slot.