Whether you love or hate the season, winter is definitely on its way, and that makes this an important time for preparing yourself, and your car, for the challenges that the winter season can present. Driving in winter can be hazardous, especially if you live in an area where the colder months tend to bring with them ice, snow, and flooding.
Of course, we still need to get around, so here are some things to think about to help yourself stay safe when driving this winter.
Prepare Your Car
You will know the kind of conditions you can expect in your area and whether you’ll need to actually modify your car, for instance with tyre chains, to be able to endure the harsh weather. However, for everybody all over the country, there are some extra precautions you should take, such as having de-icer on hand inside your car as well as at home. This will help you if a cold snap leaves ice on the car while you are at your destination. You may also want to get your car serviced at this time of year, so you’ll know the heating is working soundly.
You may also want to consider switching to a new battery if your car is fairly old, like Yuasa batteries which you can find on sites like hardwarexpress.co.uk, so that you have a reliable battery in your car that is less likely to let you down. While jump-starting a car can be fairly straightforward, it is much harder to do it in cold conditions and being cold in an unheated vehicle while you wait for assistance is never desirable!
Pay Attention to Forecasts and Warnings
Another important thing when it comes to staying safe on the road in winter is actually following the advice released by the Met Office. It can pay to check forecasts and also avoid unnecessary trips in your car when warnings are issued, even if conditions seem OK at the time. Weather can change very suddenly and floods and snowfall can often leave drivers stranded, so make sure you stay aware of bad weather looming with alerts on your phone or by listening to the radio. It makes it easier to find out what the current warnings and predictions are through the winter.
You can then make informed decisions about whether you absolutely need to make a journey, or if you might be better off working from home or ordering your shopping online rather than venturing out!
Load Up Your Car with Useful Stuff
Some journeys are, of course, essential. However, if you are reliant on your car and generally have to set out quite often, whatever the weather, it is a good idea to make sure your car is stocked up with things that will help you and any passengers get through any kind of breakdown or stranding incident as comfortably as possible. In fact, this is a good thing to do in general, even if you don’t make that many essential trips because it is fairly easy and can really help you out in a pinch!
Here are things you should keep in your car in the winter as a kind of survival pack:
- Bottled water
- Spare warm clothes for everyone who usually travels with you. Old sweaters can be a real lifesaver if you get stuck in the snow and have to wait a few hours for rescue!
- A battery pack for your phone; kept fully charged. You may need to call for help or keep in touch with people while stranded and you definitely want a back up for your battery. This is doubly important if you use your phone for GPS.
- Food that keeps well. This can be simple stuff like crisps and chocolate, but make sure there is a stash of food you can rely on if you get stuck in the snow somewhere or in a flood.
- Blankets or sleeping bags. Sometimes, people get stranded in their cars overnight in bad weather, and this will keep you warm and at least enable you to get some rest.
- Notes of all the important numbers you need to know, such as your family members, work, and your vehicle recovery service. If your battery does die or your phone is broken (for instance, if you are in an accident) and you need to get hold of these people from another phone, you’ll want the numbers on paper.
- A first aid kit and spare supplies of any medicine you or your family need to take (for instance, insulin). If you are stranded for a long time or in a minor collision, there may be injuries you can treat.
By preparing your car, getting in the habit of looking at forecasts, and stocking up on stuff you can rely on if there is an emergency, you can have a much safer and more comfortable winter on the roads.