Cold weather really does present some tricky and challenging driving conditions. From starting your vehicle in the first place to ensuring you have visibility and grip whilst moving. The trick is to make like a Brownie or Scout and be prepared!
During such inclement weather your vehicle is being asked to work a great deal harder than normal, not dissimilar to dragging our own cosy selves from our warm and snuggly beds! It is important therefore, when the weather man warns us a cold snap is coming, to check our four wheeled friend is cold weather ready!
First up is your Battery! Simply put – the cold and damp just drains it! If it is already struggling and taking a few goes to kick start in the morning, then that situation will not be getting better! It’s possible to buy a little battery tester yourself (some start from as little as £3) or swing by your local garage whom in most cases will offer this test for free – I know we do as part of our free winter check! If your struggling to turn it over, try pouring hot water over it to give it the extra help it needs.
A Handy investment for all drivers is a Jump start pack or some Jump leads. A good friend of mine broke down a short distance from my house not that long ago, I was able to get to her and jump start her car in little under 5minutes because I had a pair of leads handy!
Check all your levels, Antifreeze is an obvious one, you can buy a simple gadget (again from as little as a fiver) that will tell you whether it’s quality is good enough and if it does need replacing, there are lots of ready mixed solutions available, just remember to drain out the old before you pop in the new! Screen wash is perhaps the most annoying one to run out of! Your wipers will be moving frequently during our wonderfully regular wet spells and without actual screen wash all the wipers will achieve is to move salt and grim in a smeared fashion all over your line of sight…..Irritating AND dangerous. Screen wash also has a lower freezing temperature than just water so it’ll help to ensure the washers don’t block when you need them most!
…and whilst we’re talking about visibility let’s not forget our dear old headlamps! Days are shorter and we’re often driving in wet & foggy conditions, add to that a build-up of salt and grime on your headlights and even those with the best vision would struggle to see. Give your lights a weekly check to make sure all the bulbs are working and a quick wipe wouldn’t go a miss either!
Lastly for those of you lucky enough to be in your vehicle covering a lot of miles regularly it would be well worth investing in some Winter Tyres, whilst they cost a little more, they offer exceptional grip when the temperatures drop. The bare minimum you should ensure is that the tread depth is above the legal limit and your Tyre pressure is topped up, remember the better the tread depth the more grip you can count on!
My final tip is for when the snow really does fall (not very often in our case and just a mere hint and the roads and public transport dissolve into chaos). A decent set of car mats not only protect the cars carpet but can be wedged under the car wheels to get you moving should get really stuck in the snow!’