The past few winters, we have seen snow and ice, with temperatures falling below -10 C.
This winter is likely to be more of the same, freezing with persistent snow and subzero temperatures:
During the winter months, fleet safety and winter driving should be a top concern. Winter is the season that requires the most care and preparation for your fleet, as crashes and breakdowns are more likely to occur.
Driving in winter means you will need to be extra careful about your driving style and vigilant with servicing your vehicle.
- Check your tyres frequently to ensure they are adequate for use on the road.
- Turn on your headlights during hazardous weather conditions, such as snow, fog, hail, or rain, as visibility will be reduced.
- Maintain a greater distance between you and the vehicle ahead of you, as the stopping distance tends to increase on snowy, icy, or wet roads.
- Do not drive through moving water deeper than 10 cm.
- Drive carefully and wear dry, warm, and comfortable shoes which will reduce slipping on the pedals.
- If you drive uphill, try to keep your speed constant and choose gears in advance.
- While driving downhill, reduce your speed before descending, use low gears, and minimise the use of the brake or apply it gently.
Here is a checklist that will assist in keeping your vehicle suitable for winter driving conditions.
- Antifreeze: Make sure your vehicle has antifreeze and check its level often in order to ensure adequate cold temperature protection and avoid breakdowns. Check your handbook or ask a dealer for advice.
- Battery: If your vehicle is older than 5 years, check your vehicle's battery as well as it might struggle during cold temperatures. Replace it if necessary to avoid malfunctions that might cause you to stop.
- Fuel: Always keep your tank at least a quarter full in case of unexpected delays. Ensure you are using fuels that are suitable for winter driving conditions. If you are unsure, check with your garage or manufacturer of your vehicle.
- Lights: Regularly check and clean all lights so you can see and be seen. Always carry spare bulbs.
- Tyres: Winter tyres should have at least 3mm of tread and check pressure on a regular basis, at least every 15 days. Consider winter tyres for improved safety.
- Windscreen: Keep your vehicles windscreen clean and clear as lower visibility is possible during the winter.
- Screenwash: Use good quality screenwash to reduce the chance of freezing.
- Locks and door seals: Use polish or Vaseline on rubber door seals to prevent them from freezing.
The first few days you start driving in winter again, try to get up earlier so you have enough time to prepare your vehicle.
Make sure all windows are clear and you have top visibility, if necessary, using de-icers and scrapers to free your windscreen of any ice or debris.
Use a cigarette lighter to warm a key in a frozen lock, while avoiding breathing on it as the moisture will condense and freeze.
Plan routes that favour major roads which are more likely to have been cleared.
Always put safety before punctuality when in bad weather and make sure your mobile phone battery is always charged.
Your car winter kit:
Below is a must-have winter kit for your vehicle. Make sure you have all these items on board for a safe driving journey.
- Ice scraper
- Cleaning sponge
- De-mister pad
- Torch and batteries
- First aid kit
- Jump leads
- Screen wash
If you have some more good practices for winter driving, share them with us in the comments below.
For further information on best winter driving and car care practices, download our new ebook!
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