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Winter presents drivers with a whole host of potential problems caused by freezing temperatures, snow and ice, all creating hazardous driving conditions. You can maximise your safety by following these handy tips.
Check Your Tyres
Your tyres are what keep your car on the road. If you don’t make sure they are in decent condition, you could end up in serious trouble during the winter months. You should check your tyres for any damage and wear, and also make sure they are inflated to the correct pressure. A tyre which has worn treads or is under-inflated will struggle to create traction with the road surface. Your chances of the wheels slipping on snow or ice are far greater if the tyre cannot grip the road, which increases the chance of an accident. If you live in an area that has regular snow falls it might be worth considering changing your tyres to winter ones, which have a deeper tread.
Keep your Tank Topped Up
It is easy to get into the habit of letting your fuel tank creep towards empty. In winter this is dangerous for two reasons. Firstly, if you are driving around with the fuel gauge just above empty you run the risk of running out of fuel on the road side, as journeys can take a lot longer during the winter months. Secondly, once your tank is less than half full the chances of the fuel freezing increases greatly. Frozen fuel can cause serious damage to your car and can be extremely dangerous.
You should aim to be prepared for every eventuality during winter driving by making sure you have the following in your car:
– A pad to de-mist and clean your windscreen. You should clear your car windows and mirrors of snow and ice before setting off on your journey.
– A torch, so you can see what you are doing if you do have the misfortune to break down on a dark winter morning or evening.
– Spare screen wash. You should use a high quality screenwash (ideally one that works in temperatures of at least -35 to help prevent freezing). You should carry a spare bottle as it is likely you will make use of it much more during the winter months and if you run out mid-journey your windscreen wipers could be rendered useless by snow and ice.
– Blankets. If you breakdown during winter, freezing temperatures can put your health at risk. You may not be able to rely on your in-car heater during an emergency and it may take sometime for help to arrive, so pack a blanket to keep warm while you wait.
– A Shovel. You should put a shovel in the boot so you can dig your car out of the snow if need be. You should also carry something to place under your drive wheels, to stop them spinning in the snow. Cat litter or a square of carpet can give your car enough traction to get you back on the road.