Winter seems to be arriving all the quicker, as temperatures continue to plummet and weather conditions worsen across the UK. For a lot of drivers in the UK, this may well be their first winter on the roads – something which can be a real cause for concern, given the higher risk brought about by longer nights, slipperier roads and adverse weather. What are some essential ways to keep safe while winter driving?
Preparing Your Car for Winter
Safety is paramount when it comes to winter driving. Despite your best intentions, dangerous situations can nonetheless occur – making preparedness a real virtue. You can start with putting together a winter emergency kit for your car, containing tools for quick repairs and extra layers for your personal comfort. You should make sure to add a hazard triangle to prevent further accidents if you are stopped, as well as a first aid kit for use in the event of injury.
Topping Up Fluids
Checking your car’s fluids should be something you do regularly, but the onset of winter is a good time for a double-check. Your windscreen wash and antifreeze may need topping up, but your oil and brake fluid may also need attention – which can be challenging, especially for newer drivers.
Indeed, if you are not comfortable with attempting this yourself, it might be wiser to take your car for an annual servicing – which serves dual purposes, in also ensuring that no latent issues will present themselves at the worst possible time.
While you’re at your vehicle service, you could take the additional step of having winter tyres installed on your vehicle. Winter tyres perform better by virtue of their higher rubber content, which keeps them soft even in colder temperatures.
Before You Set Off
Before you even get in your car, there are some simple things you should do for safety. For one, in snowy conditions many drivers make the mistake of clearing only their windows. The snow on the roof can slide down over the windows during driving, or even onto other vehicles. Not only should all windows and mirrors be de-iced, but all snow removed from the car.
Driving Patiently and Predictably
Whatever the weather, predictable and patient driving are keyways to keep yourself and others safe on the roads. By avoiding erratic movements and decisions, you can allow other drivers to understand your intentions and minimise the likelihood of an accident.
Still, though, accidents happen – and other drivers might be driving unpredictably or impatiently, causing an accident in the process. Here, predictable and patient driving is doubly useful when it comes to filing accident claims; by demonstrating your safe driving at the time of the accident, you can more easily receive a positive compensatory outcome.
Driving in Poor Weather
Lastly, particularly poor weather conditions such as gales, snowstorms and other events can be particularly dangerous to attempt to drive in. If driving in such weather is unavoidable, then you should take extra care; high winds can blow your vehicle off-course, requiring you to keep two hands on your steering wheel to keep right.