Driving in winter can be a challenge, so make sure your car’s prepared for all weather conditions on the raod
It may only be November but it’s never too early to plan ahead for motoring during the harshest of winter weather. It’s easy to check your lights, wiper blades, coolant and screenwash, but the component most likely to fail in cold weather is the battery. Get yours checked – and if it needs replacing, make sure you don’t pay over the odds in desperation.
Even with the right tyres, there’s still a chance of becoming stranded. Equip your car with a hi-vis vest, a folding snow shovel, a foil blanket and a bright torch (with new batteries), as well as in ice scraper, can of de-icer and a bottle of windscreen washer fluid.
Also make sure there’s plenty of fuel in the tank and that your phone is fully charged. It’s also worth carrying warm clothing as well as high-energy snacks. Hopefully you’ll never need them, but you’ll be extremely glad to have them if you get stuck in a snowdrift.
Take care on the road Poor weather conditions can make driving in winter very difficult. If you have to drive in snowy or icy weather, make sure you reduce your speed and stick to major roads.
Plan ahead Make sure you plan any journeys well in advance so that you don’t get caught out by bad weather. Check the weather forecast before you set off and make sure you’re prepared for poor travelling conditions if snow is predicted.
Don’t rush Ice and snow may result in your journey taking longer than you expect. Give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination, so that you’re not in a rush.
Stay alert In extremely cold temperatures, your body needs more food than usual. Drinking plenty of water and eating regular, healthy snacks will help you to stay alert.
Carry a winter travel kit It should contain:
- Warm/waterproof coat
- Hat and gloves
- Fully charged mobile phone (and in-car mobile phone charger, where possible)
- Bottled water and a flask of hot drink
- Wellington boots
- A shovel to clear snow
- Dried food (such as chocolate or energy bars)
- Lock de-icer
In icy and snowy conditions, it’s best to avoid using your car altogether. If your journey can’t be postponed, follow our tips.
Before you set off, make sure you’ve completely removed all ice and snow from your car windows as well as its roof.
Take extra care when driving on roads that are used infrequently, as these usually freeze first. Stick to major roads that are more likely to have been cleared and gritted. And schedule in regular breaks as these will help you to stay alert.