Heading into winter, chances are you’ll be travelling more than usual – especially over the Christmas period. But while it’s a time for merriment, it’s also important to be prepared for anything the season can throw at you. Many of us got caught out by the ‘Beast from the East’ in March, so we’ve put together a few precautions you should be taking before the driving in wintery conditions.
During frosty conditions, most accidents aren’t caused by roads themselves but by drivers treating them exactly as they do in normal conditions. Frozen roads are a completely different ball game to the rest of the year and they need to be respected. Traction is the biggest difference, with slippery conditions offering far less grip. This means acceleration, braking and steering must be done gently to avoid wheel spin, brakes looking and oversteering. Take things gently. Driving in high gears will maximise traction and keep acceleration down to minimum, and always remember; speed limits are not targets. Winter tyres may also be an option in extreme conditions.
Yes, we know it’s a little boring but some breakdown insurance could be a real lifesaver during harsh weather conditions. There’s a load of good deals around but we’d recommend checking out Aviva’s Car Insurance and Breakdown Cover/Roadside Assistance, which has the perks of getting you and up to 7 passengers to your destination and also the option of a replacement vehicle with enhanced options – a real bonus should something occur during the festive period.
Break-Down Survival Kit
De-icing your car before setting off is obviously essential. Visibility is your best friend in winter, so take the extra 5 minutes. But a de-icer isn’t the only thing that should be on your shopping list. It’s also worth packing a ‘Break-Down Survival Kit’. You’re not preparing for the apocalypse but packing some essentials such as a high-vis jacket, a torch, a power bank for your phone and maybe some emergency snacks will go a long way. If you’ve got kids, a book or three won’t do you any harm either, just in case you end up stranded for a while. But if you’re heading into seriously snowy conditions, it might also be worth thinking about a shovel and even a carpet/rug to lay under your tyres for extra grip.
But while these tips should be enough to see you through until spring, the best way to staff safe on the roads this winter is by not getting behind the wheel at all. During severe weather conditions, it’s just not worth the risk.
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