Welcome to another article from GDT. The snow is ready to fall and driving conditions are about to get worse. The age old adage of fail to plan, plan to fail come to mind when driving in adverse weather conditions.
There is far more to planning your trip than just knowing when / where to turn (although this is a great help), ask yourself the following questions before venturing out
1. Is my trip necessary
2. Is may car safe to drive in the current conditions
3. If I get stuck have I got the necessities with me to get through a few hours
Please find below a list of checks and tips that will go some way to helping you stay safe and legal over the winter months.
Although the legal tread depth for your tyres is 1.6mm, this will barely keep you safe in perfect driving conditions, so how you can expect to stay safe on an icy road with such a risky tyre is to be honest just plain stupidity. Personally I would recommend a minimum of 3mm and even then if it was this low, arrange to change the tyre ASAP.
The tread works by clearing the water from the road and into the grooves on your tyre, the deeper the groove, the more water it can shift at anyone time.
Modern batteries have many advantages, but if allowed to discharge, they will take a long time to recharge fully – they suffer at this time of year particularly in cars that do short journeys on cold mornings. You’ll either need to make a regular long journey with minimal use of the car’s electrical items or arrange to trickle–charge the battery.
Screenwash is one of those “easily forgotten” necessecities , Ensure this bottle is at least 50% full for every trip, especially in winter when dirt, snow, mud and grit / salt will be thrown up at your windscreen.
If you are not using the pre-mixed solutions ensure that you read the instructions and dilute as necessary, to a minimum of -20c, as there really isn’t much point in filling the tank up and then allowing it to freeze, risking the chance of burning the motor out as you try and force the solution through.
Wash the car frequently to get rid of the salt and dirt that builds up over the winter. Check for stone chips too as rust forms very quickly in the cold, damp weather.
Replace any missing wheel trims promptly to minimise corrosion to the wheel bolts, which can seize, making removal of the wheel even more difficult.
Keep your car fairly full in the cold months, as you never know when you might get caught up in an accident or foul weather. At least you’ll be able to run the engine and keep warm but you must make sure the exhaust’s clear of snow otherwise fumes can get into the car.
To keep the windscreen from misting up, soak a cloth in pure washing up liquid then let it dry. Now wipe this cloth on the inside of the windows and it will stop them misting up – go on, try it in the bathroom, it works!
If your windows have misted up, use the air–con as well as the heater – it’s not just for summer and helps to dry the air.
Don’t use water to defrost the windows – hot water can crack the screen and will just re–freeze as it cools, either on the screen or on the ground where you’re standing, which could have painful consequences! Thinking about frosty mornings, a squirt of WD40 in the locks will stop them freezing.
Prepare for your journey and take whatever you need to take with you just in case you do get stuck!!!. Take a warm coat, gloves and hat in case the weather or the car catches you out. If you do get stuck, you’ll be very pleased if you packed chocolate, water and a hot drink too.
Always carry a fully–charged mobile and take some old bits of carpet and a shovel to clear snow, in case you get stuck.
On colder days be particularly careful on tree–lined roads – the trees prevent the sun’s warmth from reaching the road, which may still be icy when all around has thawed.
In fog try winding the window down slightly as it is likely you will hear other road users before actually seeing them.
IMPORTANT : Your stopping distance in icy conditions can be up to 10 times of that in normal conditions.
GDT provide both pre and post test driving lessons Radcliffe, Bury, Bolton, Whitefield, Prestwich, Ramsbottom and surrounding areas.