Coping with the cold on the roads

The drop in temperature has been very noticeable over the last few weeks and with a show of the white stuff, we've collected a couple of hints and tips for driving and staying safe on snowy and icy roads.

Clear your windows of snow, ice and mist

Don't drive like a tank driver with just a tiny patch of windscreen to see out of. Make sure all your windows are clear of ice, snow and condensation before you set off.

  • Keep the windscreen and other windows clear of dirt and snow to avoid a fine.

  • Clear snow from the roof – it can fall onto the windscreen and block your view.

  • Air-con demists the screen faster and reduces condensation.

  • Replace worn or damaged wiper blades.

  • Don’t leave your wipers on auto when you park up if there’s a risk of frost. If the blades freeze to the screen, you could damage the blades or wiper motor when you turn the ignition on.

  • Use a suitable additive in your screenwash to reduce the chance of it freezing.

Make your car visible in poor winter weather

With more chance of rain, sleet and snow, there can often be poor visibility when driving in winter.

  • Make sure all car lights are working and the lenses are clean.

  • If the roads are really mucky, you might have to clean your lights after every trip.

  • Keep number plates clean, to avoid fines.

  • If you have to clear snow, don’t forget the lights – front and back.

  • You must use headlights when visibility is seriously reduced. If you use fog lights, remember to switch them off when visibility improves so they don’t dazzle other drivers or obscure your brake lights.

Top up your antifreeze in cold weather

Antifreeze only costs a few pounds, but a frozen and cracked engine costs hundreds to repair. You need a 50-50 mix of antifreeze and water for the winter – this protects your engine down to -34C.

Most modern cars use long-life antifreeze but some types of antifreeze need changing after only 2 years. Make sure you use the right type and check your service schedule.

Carry the essentials in your car

What do you need in your car for winter driving?

There are a few essentials you should keep in your car when you're driving in winter. These will help you deal with ice, snow and dark winter nights. Here are things to keep in your car:

  • Ice scraper

  • De-icer Torch and spare batteries

  • First aid kit

You should also keep a fully-charged mobile phone and power bank. That way you can let friends or relatives know if your journey's taking longer than usual or call for help in an emergency.

What should be in a winter car survival kit?

No matter how safely you drive, there's still a chance you could get stuck somewhere in poor weather. Pack a winter emergency kit, just in case. That way you'll be prepared for a long wait in the cold. Here's what to include:

  • Warm clothes, waterproofs and high-vis jackets

  • Sturdy footwear

  • Hot drinks and snacks

  • Shovel

  • Jump leads

  • Warning triangles


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