In recent days, meteorologists have sounded the weather alarm, with a “major weather change” expected to be seen within days. Some are even predicting another “Beast from the East” mega-freeze. Experts are urging drivers to make routine checks on their vehicle to ensure they are safe when on the roads. In the event of unusual weather, and with the temperatures continuing to fall, the safety tips will be vital.
Drivers should check their tyres in winter and before every long journey thoroughly to ensure they are road safe. This includes looking out for any cuts in the tyre wall, as well as the tread depth.
The minimum legal tread depth on your car tyre is 1.6mm in the UK, however during the winter that won’t suffice. The RAC recommends 3mm of tread on all four tyres to counter the potential loss of traction from slippery road surfaces.
It is also vital to ensure every outside light of the car works. From headlights and brake lights to front and rear fog lights, they should be sure that every light functions correctly and appears bright.
The lights should be checked each time they drive the car. On dark nights with inclement weather, bright lights serve to guide them towards their destination, as well as to alert other road users to their presence.
A hand scraping frost off a windscreen and a bottle of defroster.
Motorists should never drive if their windscreen is still covered in frost or ice, with short journeys also dangerous. They should use an ice scraper or the car’s inbuilt windscreen heater to fully clear their view.
If these options aren’t viable for them, they can use a shop-bought antifreeze or make their own homemade solution. This consists of one-third water and two-thirds isopropyl or rubbing alcohol.
Keeping the windscreen washer fluid at the optimum level is necessary for winter driving. By doing this, drivers can make sure that their car will be working at a suitable level and lessens the chance of a breakdown
Road grit, mud, slush, and leaves are prevalent in the colder months, all of which can stick to your windscreen and inhibit your ability to see clearly. If windscreen wipers don’t remove the detritus, safely pull over and clear it yourself. It’s never safe to proceed with partial visibility.
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The experts at Claims.co.uk also urge drivers to lubricate door locks and hinges, which is an often overlooked safety check that motorists can perform to prepare for the falling temperatures.
They advise drivers to take a store-bought industrial lubricant such as a silicone spray and apply it to all doors and locks on the car. This prevents any of the mechanisms from failing to open in the morning.
This allows them to access the vehicle. Also recommended is to spray the silicone lubricant on the bonnet hinges and the catch, just in case they need to inspect the engine or top off fluids at a later date.
Sasha Quail, Business Development Manager at Claims.co.uk, called on drivers to always pay attention to safety advice, saying small checks and changes could save them from disaster in the winter.
Close up winter tire of a car on the road covered by snow and ice
They said: “Driving in the winter can cause stress and concern at the wheel. Visibility can be poor, your car may interact differently with the road surface, and you may well feel less assured about your driving ability.
“These tips are the perfect way to prepare your car for winter, and can get you out on the road with renewed confidence. Remember the basics: check your tyre tread, fully clean your windscreen, plan your journey, and drive only as fast as you feel safe to do so.”
The Met Office currently has a yellow weather warning out for the south of England, Wales and the West Midlands. It warns that there will be spells of heavy rain, as well as strong, gusty winds.
There are fears that these weather conditions could cause some transport disruption and even flooding. Some delays to road, rail, air and ferry transport are likely.
Another yellow weather warning has been issued for Northern Ireland and parts of southern and eastern Scotland for strong winds, which may lead to transport disruption.
Some weather experts are warning that as much as four inches of snow could hit the UK in the coming days, as bitter winds from Poland and Russia push temperatures into minus figures.
Motorists should also keep a survival pack in the boot of their car at all times. If they become stuck at any point on their journey, having a selection of items in the boot of their car can be critical to their safety.
Basics such as high visibility jackets, a small spade, a windscreen ice scraper, a torch, a first aid kit, a large bottle of water and snacks, and finally warm blankets and clothing. This survival pack will serve them very well as they await rescue.
Keyword: 'Remember the basics!' Drivers urged to use homemade solution to defrost windscreen