Winter driving brings additional road risks as we contend with ice, snow, slush, heavy rain, fog and shorter daylight hours. Clearly, this has to force a change to driving behaviour, but this advisory document is more about the preparation for driving in winter conditions than how to do so. We make the assumption that your vehicle is certified as road worthy as we embark on this winterisation programme.
Windscreen Wiper Blades – If not removing water film uniformly you are advised to replace the rubbers.
Windscreen Wash Bottle – Introduce anti freeze wash additive and refill weekly. Ensure wash jets are working and aimed at the right area of the screen.
Windscreen – Repair damage from stone chips. Damaged screens are more vulnerable to worsening in winter weather conditions. Screen smearing seems magnified in bright sunlight and at this time of year the sun is low on the horizon, making visibility more difficult than ever. Be safer see clearly by cleaning the interior screen weekly.
Lights – If you have a duff bulb replace it. Being visible in bad weather is as important as you being able to see.
Fuel - Always ensure you have more fuel than is needed for the immediate journey
Tyres – Your link with the road surface and lifeline. Routine checking of tyres is essential throughout the year, but never more so important than the winter months. Tyre pressures increase in hot weather and conversely decrease by one pound/square inch (1psi or 0.06 Bar) for every five degree drop in temperature.
Ensure your tyres are inflated correctly for winter driving.
Ensure you have at the least the minimum tread depth of 1.6 mm, and understand that whilst this is a legal minimum, the tyre treads ability to disperse surface water and slush is at a much lower level of efficiency than when new.
Tyres of front wheel drive cars are responsible for acceleration, steering and 60% of braking, so will wear faster than the rear tyres. Monitor tyre wear monthly and periodically swop the front tyres with the rear to help balance wear rate.
Snow and slush act as a lubricant for foreign objects to penetrate the tyres. Punctured tyres don’t always deflate immediately, so check tyres as frequently as possible.
Snow and Ice removal – Always carry a de-icing spray, ice scraper and soft hand brush for removing snow.
The Boot – Plan for every eventuality. You might get stuck, need to abandon the vehicle or stay in the vehicle for a prolonged period. Consider carrying the following items: -
A spade or shovel
High Visibility jacket or tabard
Rugged footwear such as boots or Wellingtons
Camping Gaz ring to make a hot drink
Unisex disposable urine bags with gel or other means of relief
You are as ready for anything winter can throw at you now, but remember that whilst you sit in the armchair comfort of a warm vehicle, it’s easy to forget the dangers of the environment you drive in. For further advice please see our, Driving in Ice and Snow guidance