Welcome to the next part of the winter driving blog. We are giving you tips and advice during winter 2011, here we will look at the tyres, visibility and issues with standing water…
At least 3mm of tread is recommended by The AA for winter motoring so if you live in a rural area with steep hills or poor roads then this could be the essential winter car accessory for you. Winter or all season tyres have a higher silica content in the tread that give a better grip in wet and cold surfaces by preventing the tread from hardening at lower temperatures. Don’t be tempted to reduce tyre pressure to get more grip, it’s dangerous and won’t work. Make sure that you have a jack, a wheel brace and of course the correct know-how needed to change a wheel safely.
Vision & Visibility
Make sure all bulbs are working correctly and replace any that don’t as this will reduce your vision at night. In the daytime you can use your headlights when your visibility is greatly reduced. Use your front or rear fog lights but make sure that you turn them off when not needed so as not to obscure other drivers.
Also, make sure your number plates are visible so as to avoid unwanted police attention. Regularly check that your windscreen is clear and clean and check for scratches and chips. Some insurers will fix or replace screens that are damaged at no extra cost to your or to your no-claims bonus. Air conditioning will demist windows faster and reduce condensation.
Check windscreen wipers regularly and make sure they are switched off in the park position and not left in the middle of the windscreen. Blades can be damaged as can the wiper motor if turned on when frozen. Clear snow from the roof as this can fall onto the windscreen when driving. Also, make sure you don’t use engine antifreeze in the windscreen washer fluid as this can damage paintwork. Instead, look for a proprietary additive from your local auto shop.
Floods & standing water
Do not drive in water that is too deep. Water intake can ruin your engine as the air intake is low down at the front of the engine and even a small amount of water sucked into the engine can cause major damage, particularly for diesel engines. Driving fast through standing water can cause you to lose control so slow down when you notice any and driving inconsiderately through standing water can get you a police fine and up to 9 points on your licence.
Next time winter driving preparations…