Preparing Your Vehicle For Winter
1. Regularly check the oil level, anti-freeze, screen wash and wiper blades, especially if you’re about to go on a long journey. Not sure how to do this? Read this simple car maintenance guide from the RAC.
2. Check tyres to make sure the tread depth and the pressure is correct. If you drive a Motability car and you think that one or more of the tyres might need checking by an expert, remember that tyre repair and replacement cover is included as a part of your Motability lease package (through Kwik Fit centres and Kwik Fit mobile tyre fitters).
3. If it's more than 3 months since your vehicle was serviced, consider taking your car or WAV into your local dealership for a Winter Safety Check (sometimes known as a Vehicle Health Check).
A trained service technician will carry out a comprehensive safety inspection and key fluids check on your vehicle. Most dealers offer this service, with many garages carrying it out for less than £20 and while you wait.
Plan Your Journey In Advance
4. Before you set off use a service like Google Maps or the AA Routeplanner to plan your journey in advance. These can show you the best way to get to where you’re going and avoid potential hazards like road closures and traffic jams. Also, in bad weather try and use main roads as much as possible as they are more likely to have been gritted.
5. Tune in to one of your local radio stations for regular traffic and weather updates.
6. Set off a little earlier than you need to if you’re travelling in poor weather to make sure you get to where you’re going on time.
7. Check you’ve got enough fuel for your journey. If you find filling up your vehicle at the garage difficult, we’d suggest you give fuelService a try. The fuelService app lets drivers with a disability ask for help fuelling their vehicle, so they know that someone from the petrol station will be on hand to assist them when they pull up at the pump.
Always Travel With An Emergency Breakdown Kit
8. Keep a small bag in the boot and fill it with things you’d find useful if you're unlucky enough to breakdown or get stuck in bad weather. A torch, bottled water, something to eat, a blanket, warm and waterproof clothing, a hi-vis vest and a first aid kit could all come in handy.
9. Always keep a can or a bottle of de-icer and an ice scraper in your vehicle, just in-case the weather turns bad while you’re away from home. If you struggle to reach your car windscreen and windows an ice scraper with an extendable telescopic arm could make this task simpler.
10. If the temperature has dropped below zero overnight always de-ice your car before you set of, and ensure all windows are fully cleared of frost or snow so your visibility isn’t impaired. Never use warm or hot water as this could crack your windscreen. You can also clear the mist from your windscreen quicker by turning on your vehicle’s engine and air conditioning system to reduce the moisture in the vehicle, but be careful as car thieves are known to target vehicles that the owners have left running unattended to warm-up.
11. It’s vital that everyone is extra vigilant on the roads during the winter months. In bad weather remember to leave more space than you normally would between you and the vehicle in front. The RAC recommend leaving as much as 10 times the normal recommended gap in icy conditions.
12. When it’s cold and icy try to avoid braking too hard, and consider dropping gears instead of applying the brakes when you want to slow the vehicle down gradually. Both these tips will reduce the likelihood of the vehicle skidding.
Finally, if you don’t have much driving experience or confidence perhaps the best way to stay safe when the weather turns nasty is to not get behind the wheel at all, especially if the journey isn’t absolutely necessary. If you have to travel in difficult conditions, consider asking a more confident family member or friend to drive you if you have no other option other than travelling by road.
Win A Fantastic Winter Motoring Package Worth Over £100
To help promote safer winter driving we're giving you the chance to win (or gift someone you love) our amazing Winter Motoring Package, which includes an AA Emergency Winter Car Kit, a Full HD Dash Cam, a Telescopic Ice Scraper, 6 ‘Little Tree’ Air Fresheners plus a fantastic collection of Hotel Chocolat’s most-loved chocolates including Champagne Truffles, Caramel Cheesecake and Billionaire’s Shortbread.
To enter, head over to our Facebook page.
No purchase is necessary. Competition entries will be accepted until the 11.59pm on Sunday 15th of December 2019, with a winner being chosen at random on the 16th and notified. For more information about competition rules please click here.