Forget the Freeze and make Winter Driving a Breeze
Top Winter Driving Tips – Stay Safe this Winter. We’ve all been there. Dark, cold days in the winter with temperatures barely registering above freezing. The heaters forced into overdrive to clear the thick layer of ice formed on the windscreen or a thick layer of snow formed from a freak flurry, making you late leaving for work. It happens to us all, however, planning our journeys and ensuring our vehicles are fit for purpose at this time of the year is paramount; as is our mindset for driving in treacherous conditions. In this week’s blog, we will cover some of our most crucial tips to help you tackle the winter weather.
We recommend checking your vehicle regularly throughout all 4 seasons of the year, however, this becomes more crucial in Winter.
- Tyres – The legal tread depth on tyres is 1.6mm. In winter though, we recommend at least 3mm of tread across two thirds of the tyre width
- Do NOT let air out of your tyres to try and get more grip. This doesn’t work and instead is very dangerous
- Consider winter tyres or all-season tyres – these are made from a special rubber that gives better grip in cold, wet conditions.
- Screen wash – use a suitable additive to mix with your screen wash in winter to help prevent it freezing
- Ensure warm clothes are carried within the vehicle for the risk of breaking down or being stranded
- Snow – Avoid driving with any snow on the vehicle. Use a soft bristled brush to clear any snow from the vehicles roof, bonnet and lights to ensure vision isn’t impaired.
- Visibility – Make sure all lights are working and lenses are clean. This may need to be done daily depending on the roads being driven on.
- To avoid fines, ensure your registration plate is kept clean
- Replace worn or damaged wiper blades
Winter Driving Tip : ‘Safety Checks’
Many garages nowadays offer ‘Winter Safety Checks’ whereby a trained technician will check your vehicle’s condition and fluid levels. Kwik Fit operate garages around the UK and can offer a FREE winter safety check. Further details can be found HERE or alternatively, contact your vehicle manufactures nearest dealer for advice.
First and foremost is to pre envisage what conditions you may be faced with. Allow another 10 minutes to your journey to ensure your vehicle can be de-iced or cleared of snow. Not clearing your windscreen correctly can lead to a fine, and/or points on your licence should the police pull you over.
Next, try to ensure that your intended route is done on major roads. Un-gritted country roads are dangerous. If there is no way of avoiding these types of roads, we strongly recommend allowing even more time for your journey.
When faced with snow and ice, adapting your driving technique is crucial. Stopping distances are increased by 10 times in these conditions. Try to avoid heavy use of the brakes and instead use your gears to slow the vehicle down gently. Using your brakes heavily, could lead to the vehicle skidding on the snow and ice, putting you into an uncontrolled slide.
When driving in snow, drive in the highest gear at the lowest speed possible. Driving in a high gear keeps the engine revs low and therefore reduces the risk of wheel spins. When driving downhill, select the lowest gear possible to allow the engine to naturally brake.
Winter Driving Tips Quick FAQ
Q. Can you be fined for leaving your car running to defrost the windows?
A. Yes you can. Known as ‘Engine Idling’, Under Rule 123 of The Highway Code, authorities have the power to fine you £20 for any contravention.
Q. Would my insurance be invalidated should my vehicle be stolen when left running to warm up/defrost the windows?
A. Most likely yes. Most insurance companies include a ‘Key Exclusion’ clause which means you won’t be covered should your be stolen while the keys are left in the ignition.
Q. Is it illegal to drive my vehicle when vision is impaired by snow or ice?
A. Under rule 229 of The Highway Code “Before you set off you MUST be able to see, so clear all snow and ice from all your windows.”
If your windscreen is obstructed in any way, the police can fine you £60. While there is no rule currently that states driving with snow on your roof is illegal, should it fall onto your windscreen or into the path of another vehicle then you could be fined for driving without due consideration.
Q. Is it illegal to drive in Winter Boots or Wellies?
A. No it’s not. Rule 97 of The Highways Agency says motorists should ensure clothing and footwear do not prevent you from using the controls in the correct manor. It’s up to the motorist them self, to determine whether or not the footwear they have on is up to the task of controlling the vehicle. If questioned by authorities, you may be asked to show you’re able to control the vehicle in a safe manner.
If you require any further information on Top Tips for Winter Driving, you can follow the below links to some recommended sites.
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