Winter is a challenging time of year to be on the roads. You’ll need to contend with a range of hazards, including reduced visibility, ice-slick road surfaces, and sudden damage to the vehicle itself.
Getting through this period unscathed is often a matter of preparing yourself and your vehicle. But exactly which measures should we be taking?
Keep your Distance
The shorter the distance between you and the vehicle in front, the less time you’ll have to react when the vehicle in front unexpectedly stops. In winter, your stopping distance might be vastly increased by the presence of standing water and ice on the road surface. Since you can’t be sure of the extent of this effect, it’s a good idea to err on the side of caution. Limit your speed, and don’t tailgate.
Winterise your vehicle
There are a few things you can do to get your vehicle ready for the coming season. To begin with, you might check the tread depth on your tyres, and ensure that they’re fit for purpose. In some cases, it might be worth investing in winter tyres or equipping your existing tyres with snow chains. Look for a premium brand; switching out for Nexen tyres might make a big difference to your vehicle’s performance.
Visibility is also key. Windscreen wipers are designed to be regularly replaced. Do so, and top up your screenwash at the same time. During winter, a higher concentration will help you to avoid freezes.
It might also be worth swapping your oil out for something that’s formulated for colder temperatures. Different kinds of oil will remain viscous at different temperatures, and it’s a good idea to know what it is that you’re using. This is something you can learn to do yourself; it’s quite straightforward and could add years to the lifespan of the vehicle.
Finally, we should note the importance of inspecting your vehicle during winter. It’s at this time that they’re most prone to developing leaks and other problems. Check the underside before you set out.
Pack an emergency kit
Statistically, it’s unlikely that any given trip will end with you sitting at the side of the road, waiting for a recovery vehicle. But statistically unlikely things happen every day, and it’s vital that you prepare for this sort of contingency.
Pack an emergency kit containing all of the things that you’ll need in this situation. These might include a first-aid kit, some blankets, and some long-lasting food and drink.
Whenever you travel during winter, it’s important that you’re not travelling in a hurry. This will cause you to take unnecessary risks on the road. Set out with plenty of time, and make sure that you’ve allowed an extra half an hour to clear the ice (and debris) from your windscreen.