Driving in winter

Cars in snow

Winter is indeed on its way, so we had all better get ready for it. Are you a new driver or are you still learning and practicing in your own car? Remember your first winter is a good learning experience for you as a new driver and the more prepared you are the easier it will be.
Winter is an especially hard time of year on your car, so I have put together a few tips for new and learner drivers to make your first winter in the driving seat that little bit easier.

First things first

Check your tyres, I cannot stress how important this is, if your tyres are low on tread you dramatically lower your control and increase your chances of skidding. To put in simply the more tread, on your tyre’s the more grip you have and therefore more control you will have of your car.

What are the legal tyre requirements?

The legal tyre tread depth for cars in the UK is 1.6mm of tread across the central three-quarters of the tyre, according to UK law.

The tread must meet this minimum requirement across its complete circumference.

Tyre tread

There should be no cuts or bulges in the tyres. Remember tyres are the only thing connecting your car to the road make sure they are in good condition and keep maximum control of your car.

If in doubt have a local tyre specialist look at them for you.

Can my car handle the winter weather?

Car being repaired at road side

Winter can be hard on your car; car batteries are not great fans on the cold, and they will we be far more prone to losing power in winter than in summer.

Antifreeze is mixed with the water that keeps the car cool, if there is not enough antifreeze in the water it may freeze and that can cause major damage to your engine.

Make sure all your lights are working and the light lenses are clean and easy for others to see.

Checking how healthy your battery is or checking the antifreeze content of your water is not always easy to do so a good idea would be to get a winter check carried out by your local garage they can make sure your car is ready for winter, and that can save you from some unpleasant surprises.

Make sure you have access to a breakdown/recovery service like the RAC in the above picture, if the worst happens it is good to know that help is only a phone call away. Check your insurance policy before you join any of the breakdown/recovery companies as that service is sometimes included in your insurance policy.

Get yourself a winter kit

I have listed below a few must have items for winter,

  • De-icer
  • Ice scraper
  • Warm waterproof gloves
  • A small torch

All these things can be found easily, Halfords, petrol stations and most large supermarkets will sell them. Do not forget the gloves, scraping ice of your windscreen without them is not a fun job. And lastly remember to leave your new winter kit in the boot of your car!

Follow the above steps and you will be ready for whatever winter decided to throw at you, and if summer of 2020 is anything to go by, we could be in for an unusual winter.

Keep driving, stay safe and I hope to see you next time.

Graeme Howard
Franchise manager
Union school of motoring

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