Roadside breakdown cover specialists, Green Flag, estimate that as many as 900,000 motorists breakdown over the months of November to December. This figure isn’t so surprising, either, as 20% of drivers fail to carry out checks on their vehicles over the year, and only half of these motorists choose to do so come the midst of a cold snap. In order to avoid becoming another number amongst these statistics, it’s vital to ensure that your car is prepared for what are three months of the trickiest weather conditions. We’ve put together a motorist winter checklist so that you know how to get prepared for the winter months and be safe on the roads.
Green Flag approximate that out of the 900,000 breakdowns throughout the UK during winter, 105,000 are down to flat batteries. This may seem like a staggering figure, however, many cars are left standing for a number of days, or even a week or more, owing to the Christmas holidays. For you, this simply means that you should ensure your battery is fully charged before setting off on any journey. If your car has been stood still in cold conditions, you should always leave your car running for at least ten minutes in order to charge the battery.
The nights continue to draw in, and in the middle of winter, we only benefit from a mere 8 hours of light a day. Ensuring that your lights are in good working order is essential for safe driving, yet despite this, as many as 2.6 million cars currently on the roads are thought to be driving with defective lights that are deemed illegal (The RAC).
Be sure that all of your lights are working as they should be – including the rear lights, indicators, and reflective strips. You should additionally be sure to carry spare bulbs.
Your windscreen wash and radiator fluid levels drain far faster over winter, so be sure to stay on top of their levels. You should also add anti-freeze fluid to your cooling system (being sure that it’s the correct anti-freeze for your specific vehicle).
Your tyres have it particularly tough during the wet and icy season, so ensure that they have the minimum legal tread of 3mm and that the air pressure is correct. Don’t forget to also check your spare.
You may additionally want to consider switching to winter tyres, as they provide for much better performance, especially in snow.
Check your wipers for splits or other signs of wear and tear – poorly maintained wipers can damage your windscreen and will certainly impact upon your driving visibility. If you find that the wipers are leaving a film over the windscreen, try wiping them with a damp cloth.
You should always remove the snow from your windows, roof, bonnet, lights and mirrors before you drive. Wiping down the windscreen on the inside also lessens the impact of dazzle from the low winter sun. You’ll also need to study your windows for any chips, as these can quickly lead to cracks overnight when the temperature drops.
Even when following good car maintenance for the winter, there’s no way to be certain that you won’t breakdown. In the event of an emergency you may need to have the following items:
Antwis Engineering LTD, Sevenoaks can help ensure that your vehicle is safe and winter road ready with our winter checklist and can also handle any critical repairs in preparation for the demanding conditions of the winter roads. Book online for winter tyres, car servicing and repairs at your local Sevenoaks garage.