If this is your first winter as a new driver, you’ll notice there are a few new challenges to negotiate and for many people, this can be a bit of a shock. With icy roads, snowy conditions, freezing fog and reduced visibility, extra care needs to be taken when driving, and the condition of your car can be critical to how you handle these conditions, so even greater attention should be taken with maintenance schedules.
Before you take to a freshly gritted street, are you confident your car is in great shape and ready to tackle wintry situations?
Perform a few simple checks, and you can drive safely with confidence knowing your car is fully prepared and ready to embrace the worst of the wintry conditions.
Daylight is reduced dramatically during the winter months where you spend more time driving in the dark and less time driving in the light. Visibility, in general, can be greatly reduced throughout the winter, so it’s essential you keep car lights in perfect working order to make the road ahead and your vehicle as visible as possible. Physically check all of your vehicle’s lights to make sure they are working and clear and free from dirt. Salt and grime from winter roads can make lights dull and hard to view, so clean them regularly, and replace any faulty bulbs as soon as you realise there’s a problem.
Check fluid levels
Oil, water and fuel are just some of the fluids you should be checking on a regular basis as a car owner. Windscreen washer levels need to be checked more often during the winter months as you will be using your wipers more, and also make sure you have plenty of antifreeze in your cooling system, to prevent the water in the system freezing. You can top up the coolant level through the reservoir in the engine bay and if you’re not sure where this is, check the owner’s manual, or simply ask a pal that knows where this is.
Have your battery tested
Batteries work extra-hard in the winter and the cold weather can really drain their life, so it’s essential your battery is working to its full potential to maximise the performance of your car. Weak batteries can die in the winter and this could leave you stranded in freezing conditions, but this is totally preventable. Have your battery tested to see if it’s holding its charge and there is plenty of life left in it. If there isn’t, have the battery replaced to prevent a breakdown in the future and you will have peace of mind throughout the winter.
Examine your tyres
Winter tyres will give you extra grip on slippery roads and provide you with the additional traction you need. You can also consider all-season tyres, just be sure you check them regularly for their condition or air pressure. Any signs of defects on the tyres such as bulges, nails, cuts or excessive wear should be addressed straight away, as this is simply not worth the risk. You can easily test the air pressure in your tyres at a petrol station forecourt, so there’s no excuse for running them under or over-inflated.
Pack a survival kit
You never think you are going to get stranded in your car over the winter but it happens, and you hear reports on the news each year where motorists are stuck and need assistance. A survival kit would help you if you became stranded on an isolated road, and this should contain the following items:
- Booster cables
- Emergency phone charger
- Some chocolate or snacks to provide nutrition
- First-aid kit
- Snow shovel
- De-icer to prevent windows and doors freezing solid
Winter is often the worst time for drivers, but if you plan in advance, and take good care whilst out on the road, it doesn’t have to be a nightmare. Take care of basic car maintenance to stay safe this winter, and if you have recently passed your test and want some experience of bad weather driving, a Pass Plus Course could be just what you need to improve your driving skills.
Find out more about this here at Weekly Crash Courses and contact us today, or to speak to Andy in person, call 07788 973538.