We’re moving into the really cold part of the year when driving and road conditions get more difficult. The Met office haven’t announced a ‘Snowmageddon’ forecast yet, but anything could happen with the British weather – and it usually does.
To make sure you are well prepared to meet the demands of driving in wintry conditions, here are some sensible tips to keep you safe on the road.
Having special winter tyres fitted to your vehicle will make driving in poor wintry conditions far less stressful. Giving enhanced grip on the road and better able to cope with icy and snowy conditions, winter tyres are being chosen by more and more motorists every cold season.
Because they are made from a softer compound than normal tyres, they work much better under 7 degrees celsius. The tread pattern is different on a winter tyre and features more grooves cut into the profile, giving it much better bite into the snow and ice. For better cornering and stopping distances in snow, winter tyres are hard to beat.
For safety reasons you need to change over all four tyres at the same time and this can be easily done at home or work with the most reliable mobile tyre fitters Oxford has to offer. To organise swapping over your summer tyres to winter treads for mobile tyre fitters Oxford has it sorted. Check out the competitive prices online before making contact, you’ll be pleasantly surprised – and getting them to come to your home or workplace to fit the tyres is so much more convenient than heading off to the garage – especially if the weather has suddenly turned nasty.
Be sure to keep your tyre pressures at correct levels during cold weather. Tyre pressure drops in cold conditions, so make sure they are inflated to the correct pressures recommended by the vehicle manufacturer. It’s best to do this outside in the cold, rather than inside a warm garage or workshop that will influence the pressure readings you get. If you don’t want to brave the blizzard, add an extra 3 psi to the manufacturer’s recommendations to allow for reduced pressure due to a warmer environment.
Get small chips in your windscreen fixed before icy conditions set in or it could end up the whole thing requires replacing – a much more expensive job. Thermal shock can have a detrimental effect on windscreens, so it’s good practice for cars that are parked outside to have screens covered in cold weather. When you turn on the car engine in icy conditions, the contrast between a sub-zero exterior and a heated interior can put stress on the screen. You can buy insulating protectors at motorist stores or even newspaper can do the trick. Check windscreen wipers are in good order so that salty, iced up glass can be easily cleared. Put winter screen wash in your car to battle the extra grime, grit and salt that gets thrown up into your path on busy winter roads.
Vehicles have to work much harder in the winter and the extra stress on poorly maintained cars will show up early on. In the cold you crank up the heating, use lights more and windscreen wipers are often going like the clappers, a well maintained car will be able to cope with the extra load on its system.
Regular battery checks are a good habit to adopt because cold weather can sap them and cause them to discharge. Other sensible maintenance checks to be covered before the bad weather sets in are routine oil check (is it suited to cold conditions?) Regular car washes are a good idea to prevent small chips and scratches turning into rust hotspots – all the added salt on the roads in winter exacerbates corrosion and rust problems.
With super dark mornings and nights, your car’s lights will be required for longer periods. Check all your lights are shining bright and in good working order and travel with replacement bulbs on board in case of failure. Poorly maintained brakes in wintry conditions can be heart stopping, check brakes before winter arrives and if you are in any doubt take it for a maintenance overhaul at the garage.
Driving your car in winter doesn’t need to be dangerous if you take the right precautions. With a little extra effort and planning, you can deflect the wild weather conditions unpredictable British winters sometimes throw at us…