We have taught many people to drive this year, and for them, like many others, they are heading into their first winter driving for themselves. However, winter driving, especially in the UK, can mean being faced with many road conditions and extra hazards to be cautious of that we haven’t come across before.
With this in mind, here are some useful tips to follow to ensure we keep safe and are fully prepared for whatever the weather and driving conditions may throw at us!
We should always make sure our cars are roadworthy, but winter especially calls for our cars to be in tiptop condition. If your tyres are near the legal limit consider changing them for new ones, in wet and icy conditions it is important for your tyres to have sufficient grip to hold the road, check even more often that they are inflated correctly, small changes in tyre pressure will affect the handling of your car.
It is a good time to get a winter check, and some garages offer these for free, it is always good to know how to check your car for yourself though. Fewer daylight hours will find many of us driving more often in the dark so it is especially important to ensure lights and indicators are working and check them regularly, carry spare bulbs and know how to change them or where to go for help. Keep lights and number plates clean and top up your screen washer bottles regularly. Also, make sure to check antifreeze levels to protect your car’s engine during the coldest times of the year.
If you’re driving in rain, ice and snow, always avoid sudden changes in speed, heavy braking and using cruise control. With braking distances being as much as 10 times further than normal, gentle manoeuvring and early reactions can avoid dangerous situations. If you’re out early in the morning, make time to defrost your car properly and don’t be tempted to set off before you can see clearly through all of the windows and your windscreen. It’s always best to, leave extra time for any journeys you have to make so you’re not tempted to drive faster than the road conditions allow.
We never know when we may be stuck in our cars longer than expected. If there is an accident that holds traffic up, we could find ourselves out for longer than planned, so it makes sense to take some precautions. Ensure you have warm clothing and keep at least a third of a tank of petrol in our vehicles just in case you get stuck in colder weather, and when driving on longer journeys or in rural areas, some food and a hot drink in a flask would be good things to pack.
If you’re concerned about driving safely in winter and would like to benefit from additional driving tuition, Beverly Slater, are here to help. We’d be glad to give you an extra lesson or so in order for you to feel safe driving this winter!