Although we might be fooled into thinking winter really won’t be an event this year with the exceptionally mild November we are experiencing, it’s still better to be prepared. Now is the time to get ready. At Same Day Couriers Direct we are always prepared and here we want to share some of our top tips for winter driving.
There is lots of advice on the web for winter driving but we reckon these tips are best suited for our British roads and weather. After all, we aren’t in the frozen wastes of Canada with regular 20ft snow drifts. So read on and be prepared and safe this winter.
Same Day Couriers Direct drivers prepare a winter boot pack
Here are some items you might want to keep in the car over winter in case of emergencies and becoming stranded:
- de-icer, scraper and torch with spare batteries
- jump leads
- warning triangles
- sensible footwear
- warm clothes and a blanket
If you set off on a journey knowing there might be a risk of being snow bound, you might also want to pack a thermos with a hot drink and some snack bars.
Same Day Couriers Direct drivers set the alarm for ten minutes earlier
Why you may ask? Well, here are some great reasons:
- if it’s been frosty overnight, this gives you 10 minutes extra to defrost the car; remember to clear all the windows and mirrors using a scraper and de-icer and wait till the windscreen is fully demisted
- give yourself more time to reach your destination at a sensible speed on dark and murky roads
- wear comfy shoes for driving, wet soles can slip on pedals
- been fine overnight and roads are clear? then that’s 10 minutes extra for another coffee!
Driving safely on snow or ice covered roads
In the first instance we’d highly recommend that you choose your route to take in major roads and motorways which are usually gritted and cleared much earlier than those less used.
However, it is often those few yards from home to the main roads that can prove challenging.
- pull away in second gear and gently let out the clutch thereby avoiding wheel spin
- if the worst happens and you do become stuck, straighten the steering wheel, clear as much snow as you can from the wheels and put down an old sack or rug for traction and set off slowly and steadily in second gear
- driving over hilly conditions, both up and downhill, leave plenty of room between other vehicles
- uphill keep up a steady speed and try to avoid changing gear
- downhill, slow down ahead of the hill and use a low gear
- do try to avoid braking as this will possibly lead to a skid
Same day courier companies see and are seen
We’ve already mentioned de-icing the car fully before setting off. We cannot stress the importance of this enough. The Highway Code explicitly states that ‘windscreens and windows MUST be kept clean and free from obstructions to vision’ to ensure optimum safety when driving. A partially cleared windscreen, as well as side windows, side mirrors and the back window, can create blind spots, therefore making the vehicle unsafe to drive.
- regularly check that all your external lights are in full working order and clean
- keep number plates clean to avoid fines
- don’t forget to clear snow from lights both back and front
- use your headlights in poor visibility
- if you need to use your fog light, do remember to switch it off when visibility improves
Same Day Couriers Direct drivers look after their ‘feet’
You probably wear sturdy boots with good grip in the winter months. There’s no reason not to make sure the vehicle’s ‘feet’ or tyres are also well looked after.
- make sure there is plenty of tread on all tyres – experts recommend at least 3mm
- don’t listen to the urban myths that letting air out of tyres gives better grip – it doesn’t and it’s unsafe as well
- only use snow chains if there is enough snow on the road otherwise you may cause damage to the road surface and, heaven knows, many are in bad enough repair as it is
- consider winter tyres – they give much better grip in the cold and wet
Prevention is better – always!
Some simple tips to keep the vehicle in good condition over the winter. A little time and effort could save you hundreds of pounds down the line.
Winter is hard on a car battery with the extra work they have to do to keep the lights going, heating blowing and wipers clearing the windscreen. Car batteries don’t usually last longer than 5 years but you can help it manage another winter.
- before starting the engine, make sure things like the heated rear windscreen, lights, wipers, heated car seats etc. are all turned off
- use the starter in short 5 second bursts
- if it doesn’t start quickly, wait at least 30 seconds before a second attempt
- if you don’t use the vehicle often, give it a regular overnight trickle charge or make a point of taking it for a 30 – 40 minute drive at least once a week .
Check the antifreeze in cold weather
Antifreeze only costs a few pounds, but a frozen and cracked engine costs hundreds to repair. You need a 50-50 mix of antifreeze and water for the winter – this protects your engine down to -34C. Read the AA’s Common questions about antifreeze and coolant.
Most modern cars use long-life antifreeze but some types of antifreeze need changing after only two years. Make sure you use the right type and check your service schedule.
ll our tips are simple and straightforward and should help to keep you safe and sound this winter.
‘Safe travels everyone!’ from the Same Day Couriers Direct team.