We’ve been lucky with the weather so far but it can’t last. Before we all descend into merry festive frost, snow and icy conditions here are our timely tips and practical ways to stay safer when driving this winter.
1. When the snow falls don’t make unnecessary journeys and avoid roads that are unlikely to get gritted.
2. If you have to venture out in bad weather make sure you plan ahead in case you get stuck. Food, hot drink in flask, warm clothes, suitable footwear, torch, mobile phone, important phone numbers, shovel – that sort of thing.
3. Keep your ice scraper, defrost spray and a pair of gloves to hand in the car. Clear snow from the car roof as well as the windows/windscreen in case it falls off and blocks your vision…
4. Don’t leave your car unattended whilst it’s defrosting – thieves love this and insurers don’t.
5. When the temperature drops below 7° consider winter tyres; they are MUCH safer re grip and braking. If you need advice, speak to one of our FOXY Lady Approved Tyre Centres
6. Is your breakdown cover up to date? What cover is it? Do you need Home Start? Your home is usually where your car won’t start, early in the morning and most ‘ordinary’ breakdown policies don’t include this and will refuse to come out unless you pay extra. It’s cheaper to add Homestart at the outset for peace of mind.
NB: Club members get a special RAC deal.
7. Check windscreen wipers and replace them if need be – visibility is everything.
Halfords will fit these but it’s very easy to DIY really…
NB: Where in doubt, members can ask us.
8. Keep your water bottle topped up and check this before a long journey – visibility is everything.
I remember driving in the outside lane on the M25 after a VW main dealer car service when I ran out of water to clear my murky windscreen because they hadn’t checked this (after ticking the checklist). I couldn’t see well enough through my grey and smeared screen and was very scared. I always check now.
9. Keep your lights clean – visibility again. Be sure to wipe them over after a dirty weather day’s driving. This makes a big difference to you and others.
10. Do you know how and when to use your foglights? Or when not to? Read your car handbook to be sure. Drivers using fog lights inappropriately can blind other drivers and of course if you don’t know how to use them you aren’t making the most of your visibility options.
11. Antifreeze levels – don’t neglect your engine during the winter. If it freezes outside that’s OK but you don’t want the water inside your engine to expand and crack your engine (usually terminal ie very expensive…) NB: Antifreeze also stops your engine from rusting inside aka a corrosion inhibitor so, despite its name, you need it all year round really…
12. Is your battery playing up? If it is you can rely on it to let you down when you need it most. Best to buy a new one.
NB: Club members save 15% off National Tyres & Autocare battery prices.
13. Look out for local garages offering a winter check – they’ll normally charge for this but it’ll save your time which should be costed into the formula. Start with a FOXY Lady Approved garage…
14. Consider getting your windscreen coated with Duxback to keep it clean. This is the stuff used by aircraft because, when you think of it, they don’t use windscreen wipers but pilots need a clear screen just the same.
NB: Special Duxback offer coming in January.
15. We all know to cut back our speed but few of us realise it takes us up to ten times longer to stop on icy roads. So lengthen the gap between you and others. In floods, you could aquaplane ie lose road grip altogether in whci case you should take your foot off the accelerator and don’t brake hard – just let the car slow down in the hope you have the space to do this…
16. When it’s party time, just say ‘no’ to alcohol unless it’s someone else’s time to drive. Just one drink could affect your driving ability and you’d never forgive yourself if you caused an accident affecting others (at any time of the year…).
Stay safe by being ultra cautious whenever it’s cold, wet, icy or snowy. If you don’t have to drive or travel, just don’t.