Prepare your vehicle for winter

During the winter months the roads become more treacherous than ever due to ice, snow and poor visibility. Together with Allianz Insurance Plc, we share some simple steps to help prepare your vehicle for the winter months.

Driving is significantly different in the dark and, without the correct safety precautions, potentially hazardous. At night, vision is reduced, making it much harder to see signs and other road users, such as pedestrians and cyclists. There are several things you can do to ensure your visibility isn’t compromised, including:-

  • Checking your lights to make sure all lights in and outside your vehicle are fully functioning.
  • Driving slower than usual, as poor visibility means you may not see another road user or a hazard until the last few seconds. Driving at a slower speed not only means you have more time to see what’s in front of you but also more time to react.
  • Taking regular breaks in night conditions, as the risk of falling asleep at the wheel is also greater. If driving at night is unavoidable, make sure you take regular, planned breaks and if you feel tired, stop and find somewhere safe to rest.

Prepare ahead

There’s no better time for a service than in the approach to winter. If a service isn’t possible, you can carry out your own tests. This should include:-

• Routinely checking the concentration of antifreeze in the coolant system and bringing it back to the correct winter level. • Making sure the windscreen and wiper blades are in working order and that the screen wash is topped up. • Checking all lights are working and replacing any faulty bulbs immediately. • Checking the car battery and replacing it at the first sign of trouble. • Checking that the brakes are working well. • Checking the tyres for any damage to the tyre walls such as cuts, cracks or bulges. These should be dealt with immediately as they could lead to slow punctures or blow-outs at high speeds. You should have a minimum tread depth of 3mm and anything less than 2mm remaining on a tyre should be replaced immediately. Never under-inflate your tyres – it’s a myth that a softer tyre means better grip.

It may be worth installing winter/all season tyres. These are tyres that are specifically designed to give increased grip in winter conditions. In instances of particularly extreme winter weather, snow chains are also worth consideration. Please note that any tyre enhancements must be fitted to the manufacturer’s standard.

Putting together an emergency kit

It’s a good idea to put together a winter emergency kit, in case of breakdown in the winter months. You can have peace of mind knowing that you’re prepared for the worst by stocking your vehicles with the following items:-

  • Ice scraper and de-icer spray
  • Powerful torch with spare batteries
  • Reflective triangle
  • First aid kit
  • Warm clothing, wellington or other boots, blankets and/or a sleeping bag
  • Insurance documents, including any contact information for emergency claim hotlines
  • Bottled water and non-perishable foods
  • Jump leads
  • Snow shovel
  • Sat nav and maps
  • Fully charged mobile phone(s), charger lead and auxiliary battery

For the full article, please click here...