Colder weather can often bring an increased risk of damage to you and your vehicle. To help minimise this risk, Budget have created a list of top tips for driving in cold weather.
Check your tyres
Regularly check your tyres to ensure that they are road-ready, as colder weather often leads to decreased grip and an increased chance of losing control on the road.
Alongside checking their pressures and the general condition, check carefully for the tread level on your tyres. Officially, the minimum tread level is 1.6mm but experts suggest that having 3mm of tread is advisable to help with grip when driving in cold weather.
Colder weather often leads to decreased visibility and poorer driving conditions. Before you set off, make sure that your car is properly prepared for these conditions.
As well as checking your lights are working, you need to make sure the exterior of your car is safe to drive. You can buy de-icer for your windows and windscreen and use your car’s heating system to help clear ice and snow. It is important to note that doing so is a legal requirement when driving in adverse weather, as the Highway Code states that you must be able to see out of every glass panel in your car in such conditions.
In very cold weather, it may also be worth investing in some anti-freeze. You can buy anti-freeze for only a few pounds and it could save you a lot of money in the long run.
Anti-freeze is added to the water in your car’s cooling system and works to help lower the freezing point of the engine. This helps to protect against the risk of damage to your engine caused by the extreme cold and so could save you a lot of money.
Accelerating and Breaking
Due to the decreased traction and grip on the road, stopping distances in colder weather are significantly increased. As a result, drivers need to take appropriate precautions when accelerating and breaking.
If you’re in a manual, when accelerating away, ease your foot off the clutch slowly to prevent the risk of wheel spin and losing control on the road. Also, make sure you leave a greater distance when stopping behind other vehicles to account for the increased stopping distances that colder weather creates. Some cars even have a “winter mode” to help adjust to these conditions so double check your vehicle’s manual to see if your car has this setting.
Finally, when planning any trips in colder weather, always allow more time than usual to complete your journey. As well as the extra time needed to de-ice and prepare your car, colder weather often leads to increased journey times due to the need for more careful journeys and the higher risk of accidents on the road.