We have all seen the images of the UK coming to a complete standstill due to snow. Much of this is due to drivers just not being prepared for the conditions that they are driving in. Another contributory factor is not ensuring that their vehicles are fit for the conditions.
The best advice is not to drive if you do not need to. If you do need to, keep to the major routes, inform people of your route and ensure you inform them of your arrival. Do not take the option that you know to be risky but saves some time.
Here is a quick overview of what you should be doing to ensure your safety.
Tyres! Ensure that they have good tread no damage and are suitable for the conditions – minimum tread in snow is not recommended!
- Batteries – ensure that your battery is fully charged. If it is a few years old ensure that you have it checked. If you find yourself stuck in traffic try to keep the load on your battery as low as possible by keeping non essential electrical equipment off.
- Antifreeze – ensure that you top up with a 50/50 fix and always ensure that the strength of the antifreeze in your system is at the required strength. Have a garage check it.
- Have you noticed unusual noises? Any squeeling noises? Don’t ignore them, you can guarantee that they will become serious when you least want them to. Belts keep your coolant flowing and your alternator charging. Squeeling can be an indication that these belts need adjusting.
- Lights – keep them clean and clear, do they all work? If any are out get them replaced straightaway.
- Vision – Worn wiper blades are worse when the temperature drops, get them changed. Make sure that all snow is removed “ESPECIALLY THE ROOF AND BONNET AND BOOT. Defrost your car completely. In very cold conditions ensure that the additive to the windscreen washer bottle is increased.
Essentials if traveling in bad weather.
No matter how well equipped your own car is if you get stuck you need to be able to cope for an extended period of time. So the following in your vehicle is a must!
Carry warm clothing, good sturdy footwear in the boot, preferably wellingtons, gloves. A blanket, better still a sleeping bag.
Hot drinks in a flask, nothing better at keeping spirits up. Plus some food !
Torch with good batteries and a set of spares
High Visibility Jacket and warning triangle for the vehicle
Fully charged mobile phone and a in car charger
Keep tuned into weather reports as you complete your journey. If the conditions are deteriorating further down your route, find somewhere to stay and continue when the conditions have improved. Far better to spend a night in a cosy pub with roaring fire, than stuck in a freezing cold car in the dark.