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Staying safe on the roads this winter

*A collaborative post

As winter officially draws closer, our attention often turns to getting to see family and friends.  We often try and see all of our family during the festive season to catch up on news, spend some time together and often to exchange Christmas gifts and cheer.  As we have family living in London, Cambridgeshire and Staffordshire, and friends living in places such as Kent, Manchester and Bristol, this can sometimes mean long journeys from the West Midlands.

© Lukasztymszan | Dreamstime.com - White Road. Photo

© Lukasztymszan |  White Road. Photo

The change in weather always brings about changes in driving conditions, and it is important before setting off on any journey to ensure that our car is safe and appropriately roadworthy for the season.  The transition from autumn to winter tends to bring with it icier roads, gritted motorways, occasional snow and sleet.  Ensuring that our car is fully equipped to withstand these changeable conditions is essential.

Here are our top tips for car safety this winter;

Go equipped

Make sure that you have packed the essential items if you are travelling more than 30 minutes away from home.  At this time of the year, we always make sure that we have a blanket, an ice scraper, food and water, an A to Z map in case of a technology failure, de-icer, a torch, and if there was a prospect of snow, a small shovel.

Check your tyre pressures and tread before driving a long journey

Each car has its own unique set of tyre pressures depending on the size of tyre.  These can also vary from front to rear tyres, so always double check the correct PSI for your vehicle.  Underinflated tyres can cause tyre blow-outs, so factor in a visit to your local petrol station with an air inflator prior to those long journeys. A new car tyre will typically start with 8mm of tread depth, and the legal minimum tread depth is 1.6mm.  If your tyres are worn to the point of being barely legal, then you can find that your stopping distances are vastly reduced.  In wintry conditions this is an important factor, especially on motorway journeys.

Engine care

It is obvious to fill up with fuel before setting off on a journey, but it is also important to check the other fluids in your engine.  Make sure that your water and oil levels are topped up, and also your windscreen washer fluid.  Winter is notorious for dirtying your windows, with all of the grit and muddy conditions, and you really don’t want to be caught on a motorway with a dirty windscreen and no way of cleaning it.

Ensure you have the correct tyre for the season

Weather and road conditions tend to change very quickly at this time of year.  However, the nature of driving in Britain is that wintry conditions can also turn into milder weather too, and therefore it is important to consider winter tyres that are good all-rounders that can withstand several sets of conditions.  Check out this site https://www.giga-tyres.co.uk/ to source winter tyres appropriate for your make and model of vehicle.

Before you set off to see your family and friends during this busy festive season, make sure that you take time out to assess your car safety, check those tyres for road worthiness, and rather than being stuck waiting for a recovery vehicle this Christmas, make sure that your precious time is spent with those people precious to you!

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1 Comment

  • Reply Plutonium Sox

    Some great tips. It does annoy me a bit that the UK grinds to a halt as soon as there’s a bit of snow on the roads. In New Zealand everyone has to carry snow chains by law in the winter. Although we don’t have as much snow here, I bet things would go a lot smoother if everyone followed your tips to stay prepared for winter.
    Nat.x

    20/11/2016 at 9:41 am
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