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Used as a general reminder for checks we should make every day.

The above procedure is important part of driving at all times and particularly in severe winters.


Winter Driving Tips

Winter driving requires a different skill set to that at other times of the year. It may be that a new driver has never experienced severe conditions and even experienced drivers are not accustomed to prolonged ice and snow conditions.

Winter driving demands an extended range of skills to be used ranging from vehicle preparation, route planning listening to local weather forecasts and consideration for the time of day and distances involved.

Vehicle preparation

Keeping your service schedule up to date is important but if it was some time ago it may be worth your while to have a winter check up. FLOWERY is something you can do for yourself and in addition to that consider your battery is it in good working order and does it maintain its charge? Winter driving puts a great deal of strain on the battery as you will be using headlights, heaters both front and rear screens as well as the cabin area for longer periods in the day. The life expectancy of a battery is around 5 years, if your battery is starting to show signs of loss of performance consider a trickle charge overnight or after several days of standing. To assist starting after prolonged periods of standing make sure all unessential electrics are switched off wipers, heaters, lights radio depress the clutch pedal and use the starter in short five-second bursts if the engine doesn't start quickly, leaving thirty seconds between attempts to allow the battery to recover.

If the vehicle is covered in ice do not be tempted to defrost the windscreen by pouring hot water on it. Thermal shock may shatter the screen, this also applies to the side windows. It is not advisable to even use cool water in an effort to prevent thermal shock, as the water may run into the door cavity and key mechanism and when the cold nights return this may freeze making it extremely difficult to thaw out.

Windscreen washer fluid may still be at the summer dilution concentration and will be inadequate to prevent the washer jets from icing, either replace the fluid in total or add concentrated screen wash fluid in sufficient quantity to operate at the lowest temperature you think you will be encountering.

If you have electric folding folding door mirrors it is a good idea to deactivate them the night before as these may become frozen solid in the closed position and when you come to start the ice may prevent the motor returning the mirrors to the open position and damage may occur to the motor.

Clear all the snow off the roof and horizontal surfaces make sure the lights and reflectors are free of ice and snow along with your number plate. Leaving snow on the roof is not advisable because as the car heats up inside heat will eventually start to thaw the snow on the roof and under braking a slab of snow and ice could slide forward and cover the entire front screen.

Essential winter equipment

If you really MUST go out in extreme conditions, check local weather forecast, plan your route for major roads and include bus routes as these roads will be given priority by the council for gritting and snow clearance. Tell someone your journey plans and give some sort of ETA for your arrival. Ensure you have sufficient fuel and plan for alternative longer routes should you be diverted.

Something to consider with winter tyres is that they use a tread with an enriched rubber compound (high silica content) and a tread pattern specifically designed to retain flexibility in low temperatures (below +7C) and give good braking/traction performance on snow/ice as well as on wet roads in cold conditions. Summer tyres (that is our normal tyre) loose their flexibility below 7C and a marked reduction in performance is noticeable.

Driving in the snow and ice

If you get stuck revving the engine will make the situation worse and will only result in you polishing the ice under the spinning wheels. Use forward and reverse gears to try and rock the car out of the snow. If your car is rear wheel drive and driving up the hill has failed try reversing up it is easier to pull the vehicle up hill as with front wheel drive cars rather than pushing the vehicle. Carry a small but strong polythene bag of salt and grit or cat litter a plastic flower pot will serve as a scoop and sprinkle the mixture in front of the driving wheels. In a snow drift a snow shovel may assist your exit however if the vehicle is embedded. Stay with the car, call your breakdown or emergency service.
In driving snow and if you have front fog lights switch them on in conjunction with your and side lights.

Preparing yourself

Do not drive in heavy winter shoes or boots this will only make your foot work clumsy on the pedals. Keep the radio tuned to a local station that's giving out frequent traffic reports. If you are carrying snow chains or socks make sure you know how to fit them, its best to practice this at home before you actually need them. Only venture out if your journey is absolutely necessary.