With the winter season hitting us hard and fast, it’s the time of year when cars may experience more faults than in any other season. To help minimise accidents, VCARS have compiled a list of essential safety measures, which will make your Christmas safer on the road.
Our Top Winter Tips
Fill her up
My driving instructor always used to tell me that everyone on the road is a liability, especially during winter. With increasing amounts of slips, spills and accidents during the winter months, you’re rarely safe behind the wheel; consequently you’re never going to know when you’re going to get caught in the middle of a pile up.
Our advice, always keep your ride topped up with juice, so you can keep the engine running and remain warm.
Here’s a list of items we recommend you keep in your vehicle, for the obvious reasons:
- Ice scraper
- Jumper leads
- Decent footwear
- First aid kit
Now’s a gooda’ time as any to ensure you have valid breakdown cover. Being stranded on the hard shoulder in these arctic conditions can’t be any fun.
Do some quick research and get the most appropriate policy.
Keep your distance
When the road is wet and icy your vehicle is keen on ice-skating. Give the vehicle in front of you a more space than usual. Those extra metres will be vital if you need to slow down unexpectedly. This is definitely not the time to tailgate.
Look for trouble
If you have an idea that there may be icy surfaces ahead (if you see cars ahead of you sliding, for example), downshift to a lower gear before approaching the danger surface. The lower gear will force you to drive more slowly and it will give you better control of your car.
If the surface is damp or wet, which it usually is during this time of year, it’s important to break smoothly and slowly. Breaking harshly will only cause your car to lose control and slide even more. Tap the brake pedal lightly instead of pushing down hard on it.
If your vehicle does begin to skid, you should always turn the wheel in the direction of the skid. This should help to steer your car back on the right track.
When the supply of de-icer has come to a drought, and we’re too impatient to let the car heat up, we’ve all relied on warm water to defrost our windows. While it’s a quick and easy solution, it’s also an extremely dangerous one- hot water can crack the screen and will just re-freeze as it cools.
Clear ALL viewpoints
Ensure all windows are cleared of snow, ice and any form of dirt, giving you full visibility. With current conditions, it’s important to be fully alert by knowing what’s going on around you.
Make sure the windscreen washer bottle is topped up, and use screenwash additives to stop freezing. Check the washer jets for direction and clogging.
Tyres are your only point of contact with the road surface, so you cannot neglect the condition of them, especially on wet surfaces. We recommend you check overall condition of tyres (including inner and outer sidewalls), check tyre tread depth, check all tyre pressures and finally, ensure the spare tyre is also in useable condition.
Watch your speed
We’ve all got last minute shopping to do and we all take a bit too long to scrub up during Christmas, consequently we’re almost always running late for our appointments. Clawing back time by putting extra pressure onto the acceleration seems to be a popular solution.
Ask yourself, is being 20minutes late more satisfying than failing to make your destination?
Keep her clean
I know it’s cold and a shore, but it’s important to keep your car clean to get rid of the salt and dirt that builds up over the winter. Check for stone chips too as rust forms very quickly in the cold, damp weather.
Keep her running
If you do a lot of short journeys, with all the cold weather your batteries may not be getting the re-charge they really need and if they are allowed to discharge, you may well find it hard to get the car started again.
The days are shorter, the days are colder and it’s a jungle out there. Before departure, make sure you have everything you need to survive- warm clothing, a fully charged phone (or keep a phone charger in your car), a working torch, and a shovel to clear the snow… and for protection.
Wishing you a safe Christmas
Finally, we at VCARS would like to wish you a merry and safe Christmas. We’ll be back in the new year with big changes, so be sure to come back to get a peek.