More than any other time of the year, winter requires your utmost attention when driving. The combination of icy roads and reduced visibility will impact your own driving skill considerably, while the low temperatures can have grave effects on your vehicle’s internals. However, many of these issues can be avoided when the right precautions are put in place. Here’s what you need to know to stay safe:
Battery faults are the most common cause of vehicle breakdowns, but the trend is particularly exacerbated during winter. This is due to a number of different factors. For one, the driver’s increased use of the lights, heater, and wipers places added stress on the battery, which already struggles with power output drops during colder temperatures. Similarly, since many cars sit unused over the Christmas period, the first Monday after the festive break is typically the biggest breakdown day of the year. To avoid this, make sure anything electrical is switched off in your car when you park up. Anything left on overnight could kill the battery.
Staying on the Road
When the temperature is below 7 degrees, the tread compound on standard tyres has a tendency to harden and lose its grip. In fact, according to a report by car manufacturer Kia, almost half of winter car accidents are the result of skidding. Because of this, it’s highly recommended that you drive with at least 3mm of tyre tread. If you are expecting a particularly harsh winter, you may want to invest in specialised winter tyres. These have a much high silica content as well as a redesigned tread pattern that’s specifically designed to retain flexibility, even in low temperatures.
Improving Your Vision
Keeping your windscreen clear should be a priority during winter where snowfall or fog can obscure your vision. Make sure that all of your bulbs are working prior to setting off on any journeys and that your lenses are clean. Take a look at this guide from Start Rescue on the best ways to de-ice your windscreen. The main trick is to use specialised deicing fluid over the entirety of your windscreen and any other windows. Alternative methods, like applying hot water or using the car’s internal heating system, are not recommended.
With a little preparation, you should have no problem keeping out of trouble this winter season. Don’t forget to take a look at more of our tips on how to keep your car in optimum condition.