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Winter Driving Tips

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Welcome to the first blog of 2018 – and as we're in the grips of Winter now, I thought it useful to share some winter driving tips with you – keeping you safe on the roads if you need to venture out in bad weather.

Before you set off:

Make sure that your washer bottle is topped up. The salt on the roads will make your windscreen dirty, so you'll need to use your washers and wipers more than usual. (don't be tempted to fill just with water – this can freeze on impact with the windscreen in low temperatures, causing a hazard).

Check your tyre pressures (including the spare tyre). If your tyres are over-inflated or under-inflated, they can cause issues for controlling your vehicle.

Check your tyre tread depth - if your tyre tread is very worn, then you should really think about changing your tyres. In extreme weathers (as extreme as they ever get in the UK), a decent tread depth will help you to keep control.

Check your oil and fuel levels – especially if you're a "winging it" kind of driver, remember that journeys in poor weather can take (much!) longer than standard, so don't chance it.

Pack an emergency kit – the contents of which will be dependent on your destination and the forecasted weather situation, but could include a torch (useful to have in the car anyway), warm clothes, a blanket, Wellies or sturdy boots, a shovel, a hazard warning triangle, a flask with a hot drink and some snacks.

Check the travel reports for your route. Are motoring organisations advising that drivers don't travel? If so, reconsider your plans.

If it's been snowing, make sure that you remove all the snow from your car before you set off, as amusing as it may look to drive along with a couple of inches of snow on your roof, this can be really dangerous when it eventually dislodges and could cause an accident.

When you're out:

If the roads you are travelling on are icy, or snow covered, then reduce your speed. Your chances of skidding are much higher when the roads are in this condition and your stopping distance is dramatically increased too!

Don't brake too sharply if you can help it. You risk locking the wheels and skidding.

Use your gears to decelerate gently and safely.

Beware of using your car heater for prolonged periods. Especially if it's snowing. The heat and the hypnotic patterns caused by the snow falling can lead to you feeling drowsy or dropping off completely.

If your car does start to skid, don't panic (easier said than done!) but gently steer into it.

Use your lights. Don't just rely on your daylight running lights, and don't use fog lights unless it's foggy! (but DO use them when it is foggy!)

If you do get stuck in snow, don't be tempted to rev the engine to try and force your way out, as you're likely to just get dug in deeper. Choose a higher gear and accelerate slowly to try to free your car. If you can, get some sacking or something else to help to get some traction.

Stay Safe on the roads and have a great motoring start to 2018. 

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Friday, 22 February 2019