All the seasons of the year bring with them different driving conditions and winter is no exception. In the UK we generally know what to expect but it is easy, after the warmer months, to forget the lessons learned from previous years.
Weather forecasters use a ‘traffic light’ system to advise road users and others about forthcoming conditions. Despite the technology available these forecasts are usually based on computer models and our unpredictable weather doesn’t always take this into consideration. Nevertheless, it pays to take heed, so amber and red warnings should be taken seriously. Are both you and your car ready for what winter, which can last through to April, has in store?
You And Your Car
With our busy lives it is all too easy to head off quickly and get the journey over with, to avoid being out out and about longer than necessary. It’s a good idea therefore to ask a few pertinent questions before setting off:
Is the car properly insured? To just take to the road during a red weather warning with snow and ice, your insurer might wonder if that journey was necessary at all. It’s a small point but make sure that car insurance really does cover all eventualities.
Before winter lays its icy fingers on your motor, consider getting the car checked professionally by a car servicing garage. Ensure that all fluids are at the correct level, especially the coolant. Any leaks in the system will quickly be found out by freezing temperatures. Brakes need to be operated smoothly; a check will reveal if the brakes are snatching or causing any wayward movement.
Ensure also that windscreen washer fluid is specifically designed to resist freezing temperatures and that wiper blades, front and rear, are in tip-top condition. It goes without saying that all lights should be operational too. Winter, with freezing fog, is the one time that those forgotten fog lights can be deployed; make sure they work.
Everyone knows by now that tyres are one the most vital safety aspects of a vehicle. Good quality rubber saves lives; there’s no doubt. We are all aware of the financial constraints on our household budgets but motorists should still buy the very best they can afford.
If possible purchase all-season tyres: All season tyres combine the best of both summer and winter tyres to creating a product that has benefits all-year round, whatever the weather. Better still, fit dedicated winter tyres. Sure, this does mean running two sets of tyres but by the same token they get worn less, so tyre life is not really an issue. Winter tyres are made of a softer compound which means they grip better on cold, icy or snowy roads. Your local garage can advise on these tyres and how to store them when not in use.
Your Driving Health
Good. Your car is ready for winter, but how are you and how’s your driving? If feeling unwell, perhaps driving isn’t a good idea when conditions are poor. Can someone else go out for you? Drivers who aren’t feeling well are not at their most alert and responsive. Obviously sometimes there’s no choice but it pays to be aware and drive with extra care.
During the summer months it is easy to be complacent about driving. Our vehicles are so technically advanced these days that we tend to think they can do it all for us: They don’t. Winter driving needs care. Keep speeds down and slow down well in advance to try and stay off the brakes as much as possible on icy roads. Brake gently and smoothly using the gears to retard the engine.
Finally, don’t leave any mechanical issues ‘until it is warmer’. Get your garage technician to sort it out promptly. That way you will stay safe on winter roads.
Contact us at Baileys Garage on 01344 882511 or email email@example.com