Tips to Stay Safe in Winter Conditions
Driving in the winter is undoubtedly more hazardous than at any other time of the year. For that reason, it is always wise to take certain additional precautions if you have to drive during the winter months. Here are some tips about how to stay safe in winter conditions.
- Pack protection against the cold
If your car breaks down in the cold weather, thus disabling the heater, you will very quickly begin to feel the effects of the cold. This raises the risk of hypothermia and frostbite. To guard against this you should pack blankets, rugs or sleeping bags whenever driving in winter.
- Pack a shovel
It may be necessary, in extreme conditions, to dig your car out of the snow. Packing a shovel will make this task much easier.
- Keep the windscreen clear
Making sure that you have a sufficient supply of windscreen de-icer and an ice scraper on board will help to keep your windscreen clear and your visibility good. You might also pack extra screen wash as this is prone to run out with the more frequent use that is required during the winter.
- Take a torch and extra batteries
If you break down at night and need to carry out repairs or walk for help you will need some light to assist you. Taking a torch (with extra batteries for backup) will help you to see what you are doing and where you are going.
- Take food and drink
Taking food, such as chocolate and/or energy bars and a hot flask will help you through the long hours of a vehicle breakdown until the emergency services, who are always hard pressed in the winter, are able to reach you.
- Keep dry
If you have to leave the car to seek assistance you will need to keep dry if snow, sleet or hail are falling. You should pack waterproof clothes to ensure that you are protected from the elements in such circumstances.
- Take boots or other strong footwear
Boots or other types of sturdy footwear will keep your feet warm and dry if you have to leave the car either to carry out repairs or to go for help in the event of a breakdown.
- Check your antifreeze
Before the winter sets in you should check the antifreeze level of your car to ensure that it will operate even in the coldest of conditions.
- Consider winter tyres
In locations where the snow is persistent and heavy, it may be worthwhile to have a set of winter tyres fitted to the car. These offer a far more effective grip to the road when the temperature falls than conventional tyres.
- Be ready for a tow
It is of little use if a passerby comes to your assistance and offers to give your vehicle a tow if neither of you has a tow rope. Taking one with you on a winter drive may increase the risk of your broken down vehicle being rescued by a kindly member of the public.
Following these simple tips will make your winter driving safer and, in the event that something does go wrong, will ensure that you will still get home safely.