Motorists Winter Checklist
Preparation for winter driving is essential.
Make sure you are not part of the 20% of motorists who carry out no checks at all on their vehicle. Surprisingly, half of those who do check only do so when the temperatures plunge, but this may be too late. It is crucial to do a thorough vehicle check before the cold weather strikes to ensure that you are not left stranded in particularly unpleasant conditions.
Keep windscreen washer and radiator fluid levels full and ensures that you recheck them regularly. Make sure your cooling system contains plenty of anti-freeze to protect the engine when temperatures drop. Double check that you’re using the correct type of antifreeze for your vehicle.
Keep your battery fully charged and consider a battery check if it seems like it’s struggling to cope. During the winter season, your use of lights, blowers, wipers, heated seats and other electrical devices increases and this will place extra demand on your car’s battery and charging system. Many breakdowns occur in the winter due to poor battery maintenance.
It is critical to have good lighting during dark winter nights. Make sure all lights, indicators and rear reflectors are cleaned and working properly. Always use your headlights when it’s raining or snowing. According to the RAC, approximately 2.6 million cars are being driven illegally on Britain’s roads due to defective lights. This significantly increases your risk of having an accident. Also, always carry spare bulbs.
Your tyres (including the spare) should have plenty of tread and be inflated to the correct pressure. Double check that you have at least 3mm of tread for winter motoring. This will ensure that your tyres will cope with wet and slippery conditions. Possibly consider switching to winter tyres for improved safety.
Keep wiper blades in good condition and always check that they are able to clear your windscreen. Examine for splits and smearing since this can cause poor visibility and could possibly damage the glass. If your wiper blades leave a smeary film across your windscreen, try wiping them with a clean, damp cloth.
Remove all snow and ice from your windows, doors, lights, mirrors, roof and bonnet before setting
Out by using a scraper and de-icer. Ensure that your windscreen is cleaned inside and out to help reduce dazzle from the low sun. Make sure that any chips in the windscreen are fixed soon since these can grow in the cold weather.
What to carry in your vehicle
It is advisable to always carry an emergency ‘kit’ in your vehicle. This will make sure that if anything was to happen you can stay safe and healthy. Additionally, always make sure your mobile phone is fully charged. Items you should have in your vehicle include:
- A first aid kit and any necessary medications
- Battery jump leads
- A torch and spare batteries
- A blanket
- A reflective warning sign
- Ice scraper and de-icer
- Non-perishable food and drink (crisps, chocolate, water, etc.)
- A mobile phone car charger
In adverse weather, you should also have:
- Warm winter clothing (including boots) and a blanket – for you and all your passengers
- A shovel for snow
- Non-perishable food and a warm drink (in a flask)