Winter driving tips for staying safe on the roads
Whether you’re using daily car hire for your business fleet, or using your own car to get from A to B, the harsh winter conditions will affect us all. It’s worth taking a moment to refresh yourself and all your staff with all the risks associated with driving in winter, and ensure that you take the necessary precautions to protect yourself and stay safe on the roads.
Here, we’ve detailed some of the most useful tips and advice that will help you and your vehicles to keep safe this winter and ensure that you are fully prepared for any conditions or situations you might encounter.
Getting winter tyres
First things first. This one’s pretty simple - if you haven’t switched from summer to all-season/winter tyres, now’s a great time to do it. Your summer tyres simply won’t provide you with the extra grip and traction necessary to keep you safe on the icy or rainy roads. The AA recommends that drivers should consider getting at least 3mm of tread, together with keeping the right amount of air in their tyres to maintain a better grip.
Also, make sure that when you use snow chains, only use them when there is snow on the road, as it can be annoyingly easy for both the car and the road to get damaged.
Properly prepare each vehicle for travel
If you’re on a tight deadline for a delivery – or even just late to work – it can be tempting just to clear as much space as you think you’ll need on your windows, and leave the rest to melt or fall away as you’re driving. But tempting as it may seem, that’s a very easy way to end up involved in an accident (potentially a very serious one).
So while it might sound obvious, it’s still worth saying: take the time to properly clear your windows of all traces of snow, ice and condensation that might have built up. The more time you take to prepare, the better your chances of avoiding difficult situations or conditions will be.
Make sure lights are working (and use them)
Since there are fewer daylight hours now, it will naturally be darker for longer periods every day. Because of this, you will be using your lights a lot more during the winter. Take the time to check if all of your lights are working, and make sure to use your headlights when your visibility is restricted. Plus, don’t fall into that very easy trap so many drivers accidentally make; take care to ensure your high beam headlights are off when passing other drivers, whenever you’re not actively using them.
Buy some antifreeze
Put simply, every driver should have a bottle of antifreeze in their car during winter. You should be making regular use of it to prevent your engine from freezing. The AA recommends that drivers make a mixture of water and antifreeze that is equivalent to around 50/50 of each liquid, which should protect your engine down to temperatures as low as -34 degrees.
Carry some essentials
In addition to antifreeze, there’s a range of other things that you should have at your disposal, especially during long winter drives. Make sure that you own a de-icing torch for example, and a few car batteries and jump leads. The AA also recommends that drivers should consider carrying extra warm clothes, winter footwear, high-vis jackets, hot drinks and anything else that might be useful during particularly harsh winter conditions. Remember, it’s always better to be overprepared rather than underprepared.
General checks before you travel
Get up early and prepare your vehicle
Consider getting up a little earlier during winter to allow more time for it to heat up and de-ice. Other than warming up the car so that it’s comfortable to drive in, you will also be ensuring that all water, ice and snow is gone so that your car is ready for travel.
Check your fuel
Be sure to check you have enough fuel. It might also be worth getting extra fuel during the winter too, just in case you have a breakdown or find yourself in a location that’s far away from a petrol station.
Get appropriate footwear
Make sure that you wear appropriate footwear for driving that provides you with a good grip. This will ensure that your feet do not slip off the pedals – which can happen more easily than you might think – and will reduce the chances of an accident occurring.
Plan your driving routes
Plan out your routes, and make sure you have alternative routes too. Make note of important landmarks or places of interest that will be useful to your drive in case you need them.
For instance, it’s worth noting where all of the nearby petrol stations are in relation to your routes. That way, you can figure out how far you are from them when you are experiencing issues.
If you are looking to hire a vehicle during the winter months, we can help here at Intack Self Drive. We offer short term and long term vehicle hire, and with over 50 years of experience, we can be trusted to provide great advice and answer any questions you need. Give us a call on 01254 57811, and one of our experienced professionals will be happy to assist.