Winter Driving Advice
08 December 2017
/ Martin Dunne
In these winter months driving can be more difficult and more dangerous if you are not prepared properly.
Conditions can change quickly and driving conditions can go from normal to fairly dangerous very quickly. Wet conditions can double breaking distances, while ice and snow can make braking distances up to ten times longer than dry conditions. So, always be prepared for changing conditions, especially on a long journey.
- Check your tyres regularly, make sure they are legal at the very least, but to be safe you should have at least 3mm of tread for wet conditions.
- An MOT is obviously a must by law, but ensure that your car servicing is also up to date. A well-maintained car is less likely to suffer a breakdown or fault.
- Perform a walk around check at least once a week. Check your fluid levels to avoid a breakdown and also your washer fluid. When wet roads are gritted the subsequent spray can mean that you are using your washer spray a lot. Also, check your lights and brake lights regularly. Bulbs are more likely to blow in the winter and can result in a fine if your lights are not in fully working order.
- Keep your phone charged, car chargers are cheap and easy to find. The last thing you want is to breakdown and have a dead phone battery, so you can’t call for help.
- Make up a winter kit for emergencies. This should include a warm coat, blankets, a torch and bottle of water. So, if you do break down, you can at least keep warm and hydrated while you and wait for help. If you need to leave your car at night the torch will help you keep safe and can be used to alert other drivers too.
- Slow down and be extra careful in wet and icy conditions. If there is reduced visibility due to spray or fog, make sure you can see the vehicle in front of you and ensure you are using fog lights only when needed.
- Mind the gap. Don’t assume that everyone is a careful driver. Make sure you keep a safe distance from the car in front, remember braking distances are much increased in wet and icy conditions. Keep the distance safe for the conditions and always expect the worst so you have time to react.
- Use your lights correctly, don’t be afraid to use your lights when it is darker in the afternoons. Use your fog lights when visibility is under 100 meters. Don’t use a full beam with traffic present, as it will dazzle road users and could cause an accident.
- In high winds, try to avoid bridges and take extra care when overtaking lorries and other large vehicles which can be more susceptible to strong winds.
- Plan ahead, check your route and the weather before leaving. If you can avoid driving in treacherous conditions, then put the drive off until conditions improve.
If you are not sure about how to check your car over, give us a call and we can book you in for a free winter check and make sure that your car is set for those winter journeys.
Bedford - 01234 3728477
Leighton Buzzard - 01525 372121