Only Santa has a magical vehicle – ensure your vehicles are checked and suitable for winter conditions. Avensure have put together a handy guide of top tips to help you and your employees keep safe on the road this winter.
With the onset of winter it’s time to take a minute or two to consider a few safety steps to help keep you moving in the winter conditions. The first thing is to see where you are going by clearing all windows of ice and snow and checking to make sure the wipers and lights work. Remember not to pour hot water on the frozen screen or windows, as rapid change in temperature will most likely crack your screen. Also remember extra windshield wiper fluid appropriate for sub-freezing temperatures.
Clear snow off your car
You may be fined by the police if your car’s roof and windscreen are full of snow, as this contravenes the Highway Code.
You can damage the electric motors if trying to open while frosted so remember to defrost first.
Correct tyre pressure is essential in the winter. The traction between tyres and roadway determines how well a vehicle rides, turns and stops and is crucial for safe driving in winter. The pressure drops about 1 psi for every 5°C (9°F) drop in temperature.
If you had concerns over summer about your wipers, then change them now before winter comes.
You do not have to put your rear wheel drive away for winter, fitting snow belts chains or socks to power wheels may help traction.
That old saying dip don’t dazzle applies
Driving with more lights on than you need won’t always help during periods of snowfall. In normal circumstances, you’ll only need to use a dipped beam to see and be seen. In using extra lighting, you’re only likely to dazzle other drivers
Avoid back roads
Sticking to busier roads makes sense in the worst winter weather. They’re more likely to be gritted and there should be other motorists around to help you if you break down
Electrical / Battery
Many drivers might consider disconnecting the battery if their car is left standing in the cold, but If anything, it could do more damage than good as alarm power and important computer memory can be lost.
Battery – recharge or replace if the battery is weak. Also have the charging system checked.
Lights – Check all lights (headlights, side lights, emergency flashers, directional lights, taillights, brake lights and parking lights) for proper functioning.
Check brakes and adjust to ensure equal braking.
Keep the window in your vehicle slightly open when you’re stuck in snow, and run the engine and heater to keep warm. Keep an eye on your fuel gage. Run the car engine occasionally (about 10 minutes every hour) to provide heat (and to conserve fuel). Keep the exhaust pipe clear of snow. A blocked pipe can force carbon monoxide back into the car interior.
Check the radiator and hoses for leaks.
Ensure that your vehicle always has a sufficient amount of antifreeze rated for the coldest weather.
Fill up the fuel tank before you leave on your trip.
Consider a winter driving kit
A well-stocked winter driving kit can help to handle an emergency. It should include:
- Bag of sand or salt (or kitty litter).
- Traction mats.
- Snow shovel brush.
- Ice scraper.
- Booster cables.
- Warning devices such as emergency lights.
- Flashlight and a portable flashing light (and extra batteries).
- Extra clothing, including hat and wind-proof pants, and warm footwear.
- First aid kit.
- Snack bars or other “emergency” food and water.
- “Call Police” or other help signs or brightly coloured banners.
- Avoid driving when fatigued.
Check weather conditions for your travel route (and time) before you begin driving. Plan your arrival time at a destination by taking into account any delays due to slower traffic, reduced visibility, roadblocks, abandoned automobiles, collisions, etc. Inform someone of your route and planned arrival time.
Warm up your vehicle BEFORE driving off. It reduces moisture condensing on the inside of the windows. NEVER warm up your vehicle in a closed garage.
Be alert. Black ice will make a road look like shiny new asphalt. Pavement should look grey-white in winter. Allow for extra travelling time or even consider delaying a trip if the weather is inclement.
Wear a hat and scarf – the head and neck are major sources of heat loss from the body.
Do not fall asleep. If there is more than one person in the car, take turns sleeping.
Do not stay in one position too long. Do some exercises to help the circulation – move arms and legs, clap your hands, etc.
Watch for traffic or emergency vehicles.