With colder temperatures on the way, less daylight and more extreme weather, winter brings with it a whole new set of safety challenges when driving, so we want to keep our loyal IN’n’OUT customers safe and prepared on the roads.
Here’s our essential tips for you to stay safe on the roads this winter:
Prepare Your Car
Even the most minor faults can cause major safety issues during winter. Putting your car through an Xpress Service before winter sets in will ensure any issues are identified and can then be fixed. Our friendly team will ensure your car is ready for winter driving. Or alternatively, you can book a IN’n’Out Xpress Top-up which checks your lights, brakes, tyres, windscreen wipers, car battery and tops-up your engine oil and screen wash fluid for peace of mind and to give you that extra confidence when driving during winter.
Check Your Tyres
Tyre manufacturers recommend a minimum tyre tread during winter months of at least 3mm (which is almost twice the 1.6mm minimum legal tyre tread requirement). This is due to the increase of stopping distances in the wet at tread depths of below 3mm. This also effects braking efficiency and road gripping ability on slippery road surfaces. So at the very least, make sure your tyres are legal and above all as safe as possible for winter driving. Remember your local IN’n’Out will check your tyres for you, as part of an Xpress Service, a Winter TLC Service or Xpress Top-Up too.
Pack The Essentials
However long the journey, don’t just rely on your car’s heating to warm you up. Wear sufficiently warm clothing and take a hot flask out with you as well as a snack. You’ll surely be glad of it if you break down or hit heavy traffic. And don’t forget, a fully charged phone also comes in handy in the event of a breakdown.
Here’s a list of other essentials that can be left in your car throughout the winter:
A warm blanket, Torch, Wellies, De-icer, Ice-scraper, Spade, Emergency warning triangle.
Allow More Time
With busy lives we rarely set time aside each morning to properly de-ice and de-mist our car windows. This can lead to people driving with limited vision of what’s ahead and around them, which can easily lead to an unfortunate accident.
Use de-icer or lukewarm water (never hot or boiling) and a good ice-scraper whilst running the engine to quicken the process. Just make sure that all windows are clear of ice, snow and mist before you leave.
Adapt Your Driving For Ice & Snow
One of the biggest challenges of winter driving is dealing with icy roads and snow. Always reduce your speed and keep a large gap between you and the car in front to prepare for increased stopping distances.
Avoid sharp braking and sharp steering at all times, especially around bends. Instead, go into a lower gear earlier on and allow your speed to smoothly reduce before gently hitting the brake to avoid skidding.
If you do find yourself skidding, don’t panic. Gently steer into the skid to straighten up and regain control.
Keep Your Car Ventilated
Condensation in cars is a more regular occurrence in winter when there is a greater difference in temperature and moisture levels inside and outside of the car. This can build up during a journey which can be dangerous if visibility decreases. Fully turned up heaters can also lead to drowsiness – increasing the need for fresh air.
Know How Your ABS Brakes Work
Most modern cars feature anti-lock braking systems (ABS) but it should not be overly relied on, especially in dangerous conditions. ABS uses sensors to prevent wheels from locking during heavy braking to prevent skidding. This allows the driver to maintain steering control while braking, but ultimately ABS works less efficiently on slippery surfaces.
Prepare For Less Light
Less sunlight and changing clocks means that roads will be busy often in complete darkness or during sunrises and sunsets. The result is plenty of glare from low sunlight and headlights, so ensure your windscreen is clean inside and out to reduce the dazzling effects.
Think about replacing old windscreen wipers with new ones to avoid smearing – particularly when incoming light is amplified by rain. Or pop into your local IN’n’OUT where our friendly team can replace your wipers in no time at all.
When To Use Your Fog Lights
Colder and wetter conditions lead to fog and poor vision when driving. Driving through fog calls for a much more cautious approach although, you must not use your fog lights unless your vision is seriously impaired. Turn them off when visibility improves or else they may dazzle other drivers and overpower your brake lights.