The winter months are here, and it’s set to be a cold one – perhaps one of the coldest on record. So we’ve put together 12 top tips to help keep you on the road safely. #DrivingHomeForChristmas should be exciting and hassle-free, but you never know what extreme weather is around the corner.
Keep your windscreen and other windows clear. Make sure you have some de-icer or an ice scraper to hand, and don’t use hot water to clear your windscreen, as it could crack. Clear snow from the roof as well as from windows as this can fall onto the windscreen, obscuring your view. It can also be a hazard to other road users.
There have been many news stories about unsuspecting motorists having their vehicles stolen while they were busy de-icing the outside of their car. If your car is stolen as a result of leaving it unattended with the keys, you may invalidate your insurance.
Make sure you keep enough fuel in your tank for the journey you are making, with some to spare. This will ensure you can keep the heating on if you are stuck in the snow or in long traffic queues. During this time of year, it is a balance between driving efficiently, and being safe.
Make sure you use the right proportion of water to screen wash for your vehicle, to prevent it from freezing and to keep your car from blowing a fuse. The colder it is, the more screen wash you’ll need, to prevent the liquid from freezing in extreme cold conditions. Each bottle of screen wash should detail the proportion of wash needed per litre of water, depending on the time of year - or you can purchase ready-mixed screen wash fluid.
Batteries have to work extra hard in the cold and are more likely to fail. Therefore we would suggest having your battery checked at an approved repair centre.
Make time to check tyre pressures, tyre tread and your spare tyre (if you have one). Consider fitting winter tyres - but, even if you don’t, have your summer tyres checked. For safe driving in winter, your tyres should have no less than 3mm tread depth. You can do this test with a tyre tread depth gauge, or by using the ‘20p coin’ test.
Remember to check and clean your lights weekly to ensure you are visible at all times. This includes checks to your front, side and back lights.
When driving in snow, rain, high winds and other poor conditions, take your time, anticipate the road and traffic ahead of you. Also, try to avoid puddles and keep your distance from other vehicles.
Before setting off on your journey, make sure you have checked and planned your route, listened to traffic reports from your local area and also the weather forecast.
Ensure that you are signed up to a roadside breakdown service and have suitable clothing and footwear in your vehicle, to keep you warm.
Carrying a high visibility vest in your vehicle will help to provide maximum visibility in an emergency situation, if for example you have to get out of your vehicle at any point.
Whilst you’ll be wanting to celebrate at Christmas and New Year with your loved ones, we want you to remain safe on the roads at all times. So from all of us here at Hitachi Capital Vehicle Solutions, we wish you a happy Christmas, and a wonderful 2019. Lastly, make sure you plan your journey to ensure that you are always #WeatherReady.
If you want to find out more information on any of the above winter driving tips, you can check your car’s handbook, contact your local repairer or your leasing company for more information.
We’ve also provided a handy takeaway in-car checklist below, to help prepare you for extreme weather conditions this winter.