It is said that 30% more road traffic accidents happen in the winter months so it is more important than ever to make certain that your vehicle is safe and in good running order. The winter months are hard on any model of car and basic safety checks will ensure that the car is best prepared for the worst that winter can throw at it. So before setting off on any journey during cold, frosty days, carry out these simple vehicle checks first;

TYRES
Your vehicle handbook will have the recommended pressure of your tyres however a 3mm tread depth (or more) will give your tyres more grip in the snow.

CHECK YOUR LEVELS
In any weather you should regularly check your oil and brake fluid levels, however, in cold weather conditions it is more important than ever, especially where your anti-freeze is concerned. Do not use purely water in freezing conditions as the liquid will freeze and could cause significant damage to your engine, so always use half water and top up with anti-freeze.

KEEP CLEAR
Take a few minutes to prepare your vehicle before you set off on your journey. Make sure that you clear all windscreens and windows from snow and ice. Use the demister and air conditioning (if you have it) to stop your vehicle misting-up in cold conditions and ensure that your windscreen wipers are in good working order. Your external lights and mirrors should be clear of snow, spray and grit for yours and other drivers’ safety and number plates should also be clearly visible.

Winter driving tips;
The steering wheel may feel light and tyres sound quieter, these are typical signs of icy conditions so it is important to drive slowly.

  • Breaking distances get longer in icy conditions so remember to leave a longer gap between you and the car in front.
  • Don’t overtake gritting vehicles or snow ploughs unless it’s safe to do so look out for the flashing amber beacons as these vehicles will drive at less than 40mph.
  • Be prepared – if you are unfortunate enough to break down in the snow, the following items are essential, so make sure your vehicle is equipped with them before setting off.
  • Ice scraper and de-icer, shovel, jump leads, blanket, tow rope, boots, reflective clothing, snack bars and water, first aid kit, charged up mobile phone and breakdown firm contact details.
  • Do not use cruise control when driving on any slippery surface (wet, ice).