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:
Park Out of the Elements
Leaving your car out in the harsh wind, rain, and snow are going to wear down the components of the car. Water can get into cracks and freeze, meaning you would need to defrost the car before being able to drive it, which isn’t very efficient. Try not to park in areas exposed to the elements, using garages or covered driveways where possible. A garage heated above the freezing point is ideal as this will help protect the electrical components as well. Of course, this may cause increased demand on your heating systems, however this solution by Romeo’s Fuel could help you track your energy usage.
Maintain the battery
Since many cars sit unused over the Christmas period, this typically becomes the biggest breakdown day of the year. This is due to battery faults, which are coincidentally the most common cause of vehicle breakdowns all year round. Winter is especially hard on the battery due to the increased use of the lights, heater, and windscreen wipers. Plus freezing temperatures can damage the structure of the battery. To avoid this, make sure you do not leave the car on overnight and inspect the battery regularly, charging when needed.
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.