collaborative post // The last few months of the year can be cause for celebration, especially as we head towards the festive season. But lower temperatures make roads much more hazardous, and with deaths and serious injuries on the roads up by 15%, it’s important to stay safe.
You’ll need to prepare before going on a long car journey in cold weather, so here are some foolproof tips for a smooth ride.
1. Initial checks
Firstly, you should always inspect the interior and exterior condition of your vehicle.
Before you start the engine, pop the bonnet. Check the levels of the most important fluids for your car, including coolant and engine oil. You should also make sure your screen wash reservoir is full.
Walk around your car and check your tyres. Using either a tyre pressure device or a foot pump, make sure that you have enough air in your tyres, according to vehicle manufacturer guidelines.
After the initial inspection, be sure to do another check to look for any minor dings and scratches, and then repair them with a touch-up paint pen made especially for your car.Next, you should start the engine and make sure all the lights are working and adjusted correctly.
Lastly, check there’s no warning lights on your dashboard – and you’re ready to go.
2. Use winter tyres
Depending on where you drive your car, specialised winter tyres could be a good investment.
While they might come at a premium, they contain more rubber to allow improved handling and shorter braking distances in slippery conditions. With wider grooves, they also guide water away from the wheel more efficiently.
3. Prepare a winter kit
You can never predict when you might end up stranded on the side of the road. If you break down in harsh weather conditions, being underprepared could be uncomfortable at best. It’s a good idea to prepare an emergency kit in your car all year round, but during winter, a few more items might be needed. For yourself, we’d recommend including:
- Warm clothing and waterproofs
- Torches, including a headtorch
- Long-life snacks and bottled water
And for the car itself, it’s a good idea to store:
- Jump leads
- Spare engine oil and coolant
- Light bulbs
4. Take your documents with you
Unfortunately, road accidents are more likely to occur in winter. At a minimum, it’s important to always carry your documents with you in case you need to exchange details with another driver.
We’d also recommend carrying vehicle documentation with you – this might include your vehicle logbook and any official letters confirming the validity of your car insurance policy.
5. Store your car covered up
For highly valuable cars, buying a weatherproof cover could be a sensible choice. Likewise, if you drive an older vehicle that’s prone to a leaky roof or rusty panels, keeping it covered will ensure that when you unlock it again, it’s exactly how you left it.
Got any of your own tips for other drivers this winter? Feel free to share them in the comments section below!