Dark days and difficult weather conditions can make driving in winter quite a challenge and not surprisingly, there tends to be an increase in collisions over the winter season.
However, there are things we can do to help mitigate risks and the first of these is to maximise the safety of the vehicle itself.
Arguably, tyres are the most important thing to get right in bad weather as they are in contact with the road and have a huge impact on the grip and the driver’s control of their vehicle for braking, accelerating, and steering.
In the UK, the legal minimum tread for a tyre is 1.6mm but obviously, the deeper the tread the better (a minimum of 3mm is recommended) which should be even all around. Likewise, checking the tyres’ pressure is important as they are obviously safer at their recommended levels and can otherwise wear unevenly.
It’s important to top up engine coolant and windscreen wash, and to make sure that the fluids are diluted correctly. It’s also well worth checking your windscreen wipers and battery as they tend to see a lot of action at this time of year. That your lights and brakes are in optimum condition is essential, and it may even be worth considering a pre-winter service for your car.
For any journeys in winter – especially long ones – it’s important to wear plenty of warm clothes and even take an emergency blanket, a snack, and a drink – preferably hot. If you don’t need any of it then that’s fine, but if you do breakdown or are stuck in traffic for any length of time, they will be invaluable. It’s also sensible to keep a torch, spare socks, strong boots or wellingtons, de-icer and scraper, a warning triangle and even a small spade tucked away in the boot.
Give yourself plenty of time for your journey. In bad weather it’s going to take longer than normal and the last thing you want is to be under unnecessary time pressure – and remember that you must be able to see through windows, lights must be clean, and number plates must be visible.
When you’re on the road, tempting though it is to have the heating full blast it can cause drowsiness so keep the car ventilated. This will also help to reduce condensation build-up which, in turn, will improve your ability to see clearly.
Preparing your car adequately is a major consideration when it comes to staying safe on the roads during winter, but a little bit of time and effort is well worth it – not least for peace of mind.
With over 20 years’ experience producing and selling wheelchair accessible vehicles in the UK, you can be sure that we can offer excellent customer service with a level of knowledge that is completely unrivalled.