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Top tips for driving in Winter

21 December 2020

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Driving in winter can be particularly treacherous. The combination of snow, ice and sleet and make stopping distances up to 10 times longer. The key piece of advice when driving in adverse weather conditions is to take it slow and steady, and avoid all unnecessary journeys if possible.

Read our top tips on driving safely this winter.

Check your vehicle before you set off

Check that your vehicle is in good working order before you set off:

  • Give yourself enough time to de-ice your car before setting off. Ensure the windscreens are fully demisted and clear the side windows of ice and frost.
  • Check that you have at least a quarter of fuel in the tank, to deal with unexpected delays which might occur due to bad weather.
  • Plan routes on major roads which are more likely to have been gritted and cleared.
  • Check that your oil level is between the minimum and maximum mark and top up if needed.
  • If the weather is particularly cold or snow is forecast it is a good idea to cover your windscreen with a blanket when parked up overnight. Wrap the windscreen wipers up in the covering to avoid them freezing to the screen.
  • Check your vehicle’s coolant level. It is important to do this when the engine is cold and to consult the handbook for instructions on which coolant you should use, if it needs to be topped up.
  • Ensure that your screen wash level and top up if necessary. Use a screen wash that works in temperatures as cold as -15 degrees.

Car visibility

Poor visibility is common during the winter. Make sure your vehicle is visible on the roads by:

  • Ensuring your car lights are in good working order and are clean from muck.
  • Keep number plates clean and visible to avoid possible fines.
  • Use your headlights when visibility is particularly poor, but remember to turn fog lights off when conditions improve to avoid dazzling other drivers.

Winter Tyres

Tyres need to have a minimum tread depth of 1.6mm to be legally road worthy in the UK. In the winter months it may be worth increasing the tread depth to 3mm.

There is a common misconception that letting air out of your tyres will help your vehicle to get a better grip on the road. This is not true and can make your car unsafe on the roads.

You may consider swapping your normal tyres for winter tyres, which are made from a special type of rubber that grips the road better in cold and wet conditions.

Emergency Kit

Breaking down in the midst of a snow storm isn’t ideal. You may be left stranded in the countryside where it will take a while for breakdown recovery to get to you. It is therefore important that you carry an emergency kit with you in the boot of your car including:

  • Warm clothing
  • Food and water
  • Warning triangle
  • Ice scraper
  • Torch
  • A blanket
  • Puncture repair kit
  • A portable mobile phone charger
  • A spade

Car accident claims

If you have had the unfortunate experience of being involved in a road traffic accident on the roads this winter you could be entitled to compensation. True Solicitors have been handling car accident claims for over 25 years and are experienced in getting our clients the compensation they deserve to get their lives back on track.

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