Cold weather driving: Be prepared for anything

19 Sep

Cold weather driving is hard driving. When the colder weather sets in, as it is around now, the roads become that little bit more dangerous.

The number of accidents increases during the colder months with more crashes, injuries and fatalities. As a driver who takes to the roads in all weathers, it is vital that you are prepared for anything. It’s not just car crashes that increase in the winter months, the number of breakdowns also rises, which tends to be due to the colder temperatures and the effect they have on how vehicles run.

Drivers who don’t take extra precautions in winter should not be on the roads. That’s a fact. The truth is that the roads can become treacherous in cold temperatures, not just because of ice and snow, but also because breaking down and not being able to get rescued can lead to hyperthermia if the temperature outside drops low enough. To ensure that you stay safe on the roads this winter, and are clued up in terms of what you need to do, to do so, read on.

Carry jump leads

Cold weather can significantly reduce the life of a car battery; running is down far quicker than it would lose power in warmer temperatures. While there is little that you can do to prevent your car’s battery from running down, aside from parking it in a garage or covering it with a protector, what you can do is be prepared for your car battery to run down and not have enough juice to start your vehicle.

Waking up and finding that your car engine won’t turn over because your battery has died is not something that anyone wants to experience, but in cold weather conditions, it is something that is often a reality. That is why every reputable car company recommends that drivers always carry jump leads in the winter months, so that should a vehicle refuse to start, it can be jumped from another car.

When it comes to auto electronics, such as jump leads, quality is key, so ensure that you buy yours from a reputable company. After all, on a cold, frosty morning, your jump leads could just bring your car back to life, making any investment in them worthwhile.

Learn how to bump start a car

Desperate times call for desperate measures. If you are ever stuck anywhere in your car, and its battery has died, the first step is to consider having it jumped. But what if there is no one around to jump start it – what then? The next best option to jump starting a car is bump starting it – an age-old method that tends to work well when it comes to dead batteries.

To bump start a car, put the car into second gear, and push the clutch down towards the floor. Put the key into the ignition and turn it to ‘on’. Get someone to push the car for you – if you are on a hill, then let it roll. Once the car starts to move, take your foot off the clutch and give it some gas – this should bump start the car and engine, getting the vehicle running again.

Whatever you do, after bump starting it, don’t turn it off. You need to drive it for a while to let the battery build up its power again.

Keep antifreeze in your vehicle

Often, the cold weather can cause vehicle’s windscreens to freeze up. It can also cause the water tank to freeze. That’s why ensuring that your vehicle is topped up with a combination of antifreeze and water is so important.

When it comes to removing ice from your vehicle and ensuring that it is safe to drive, spraying water without antifreeze onto it is a bad idea – all it will do is cause a sheet of ice to form. But by spraying water with antifreeze mixed into it, onto your windscreen, it will melt the ice and make the car driveable.

You can also buy a can of anti-freeze spray that you can use to spray your car’s windscreen and windows with when frozen. This helps to make the ice melt more quickly, speeding up how quickly after starting your car you can drive it. When you are in a rush, every second counts.

Swap to winter tyres

In the colder winter months, the roads can become treacherous. In most parts of Europe and the US, having winter tyres fitted on cars is a legal requirement. However, in the UK that is not the case – but that doesn’t mean they are not a worthwhile investment to make.

These tyres are stronger, sturdier and have a lot more grip. This means that in instances where the roads are icy or slippery, these tyres tend to grip better, reducing the likelihood of skidding causing an accident or damage to your vehicle. In cold weather, the number one cause of accidents is icy roads that don’t allow tyres to grip to them properly – this is something that winter tyres can make easier, making cold weather driving much safer.

Winter tyres might come at a cost and may seem unnecessary when you consider the fact that you will only need them for a few months, but the question that you need to consider is whether it’s worth risking not having them. Winter tyres with added grip that are designed for driving in icy and cold conditions, could save yours’ and your family’s lives – surely they are worth the cost?

Winter driving can be dangerous at times, due to the significant drop in temperatures. This means that when it comes to going out on the roads in colder weather conditions, it’s important to be aware of what these risks are, as well as how you can prevent them. Of course, accidents happen, especially in colder temperatures, as do car breakdowns, but by being prepared for them and taking precautions against them, you can make cold weather driving safe for you and other road users.


1 Comment

Posted by on September 19, 2011 in Contributed content


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