Summer is definitely behind us now, and while it might not feel it yet, the dip in temperature and the darker nights are a sure sign that winter is on the way. As well as the misery of shorter days, heavy rain, gales and storms, and freezing temperatures, the declining conditions present extra hazards for motorists.
Everything about winter can affect your car and your safety, so it’s important to prepare your car for whatever the cold, darker months throw at us. From checking your tires and wipers to cleaning your car to remove the build-up of salt and grit, to making sure you have emergency supplies, we have some tips to keep you safe this winter.
Visibility is vital
Obviously, being able to see properly is vital to being able to drive safely and stay safe on the roads, and winter can present all sorts of conditions that may impair your view of the road.
The rain, snow, grit, and spray thrown up from other cars can quickly coat windscreens, so it is important to make sure your windscreen washer is working correctly. Check that your wiper blades are fit for use, and that there are no cracks or tears in the rubber. A new set of blades costs around £20, so there’s no excuse for having wipers in poor condition.
Keep your washer reservoir topped up with the correct dilution of cleaning fluid for the expected temperature range. Never use just water, as if the weather gets cold enough to freeze, it will render your washers useless and may damage the system.
Check your windscreen for any chips and cracks, and either get them repaired or replaced immediately. A sudden cold snap can turn a chip in the glass into a dangerous crack, so seek out car glass replacement services as soon as possible.
Not only do you need to see when it is darker, but you need to be seen also, so check all your lights and bulbs – including fog lights and indicators – are working correctly.
Having your tires in good condition is important whatever the weather or season, but in winter the road conditions can seriously deteriorate and the grip on the road is more important, so make sure your tires are up for the task and use a proper tyre gauge to check the tread depths. The legal minimum is 1.6mm, but it is recommended to have at least 3mm in winter.
The grip the tires have on the road is also affected by the tyre pressure, so ensure they are set to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Consider investing in a set of winter tires that are designed to work better in colder, wetter, and icier weather.
You should check your car’s vital fluids all year round, but in the lead up to winter, it’s worth given them a fresh look.
The coolant/antifreeze is especially important, as a frozen engine will not get you very far. Also check on the condition of your car’s battery, as heating and lighting systems will put extra strain on the battery.
Look after yourself
Once your car is prepared for bad weather, then you need to pack a basic winter kit in the car with sturdy footwear, spare gloves, hat, jumper, and a blanket for if you find yourself stranded. Also include a torch, phone charger, snacks, a defective jacket, and a folding snow shovel.
If you need windscreen replacement services in the UK, contact us today.