Winter can be one of the most challenging seasons to drive in. Extreme weather conditions can include heavy snowfall, freezing fog, reduced visibility, slippery road conditions and more. But it’s also a time when many of us are still very busy, especially preparing for Christmas and New Year.
Even though it’s important to properly prepare for winter driving and take all necessary safety precautions, it doesn’t have to be difficult or take a long time to do this.
With the simple yet highly effective tips below, you can prepare your car for the challenges of winter and enjoy a smooth driving season.
TIP 1: Make a reservation ahead of time.
With the busy holiday season of Halloween, Bonfire Night, and Christmas approaching, the demand for services may be greater than ever. This also applies to everything that has to do with cars.
If you urgently need a repair or service, please consider booking early to avoid disappointment. Many garages currently have busy periods and may have weeks of waiting time to account for.
This is also the case for driving tests, which have fallen far behind since the lockdown, when social distancing made taking the test difficult or even impossible.
Leaving a problem late, such as one that then makes the car unsafe to drive, can be a major inconvenience. To avoid disappointment, make sure to book necessary services and appointments well in advance.
TIP 2: Modify your driving style.
If you can, try to keep your winter driving to only the most important trips.
Sticking to essential moves can be both safer and more environmentally friendly. You do not contribute to extra congestion on the roads or risk, for example, dangerous ice.
If you use your car for work or business deliveries, consider delegating or outsourcing the task whenever possible. For example, more companies than ever are switching to professional couriers to reduce their own driving behaviour.
Driving less—or at least driving more economically—is a great way to lower overall spending and also keep your winter budget in check. This is especially important because of certain seasonal extra costs, such as Christmas shopping and higher heating costs.
TIP 3: Perform minor repairs.
It can be tempting to skip a car service until we discover we have a serious problem that needs fixing. But in the long run, it may be safer and more cost-effective to act early.
Existing complications are often exacerbated by winter weather. It can turn small problems into big problems in a short time and give you urgent service at a very busy time of the year.
You can avoid this problem by making a realistic assessment of what is currently bothering you about your car—such as unusual noises, squeaking or a crack in the windshield—and then booking it with a reputable garage to take care of everything.
Cleaning up minor problems is a great way to reduce the chance of a major problem later on as the weather gets more serious.
TIP 4: Be ready.
There is no better way to handle an emergency or inconvenience than to be prepared in advance. Any change of season-and perhaps especially winter-is a good time to take steps to prepare your car.
This may include having up-to-date roadside assistance or roadside assistance in the event of an emergency, as well as packing your own supplies. A kit may include antifreeze, blankets, a flashlight, a cell phone charger, water, and any details for your roadside assistance.
It may also be worth checking important routes in advance in case of diversions or accidents, and allowing extra time for travel in bad weather. This can be especially important for visits to family or to Santa’s Grotto!
Plan ahead, give extra time, and you’ll be prepared for any eventuality.
TIP 5: Protect your car. The
winter season can be tough on a car. Damage can be caused by excessive moisture, frost, rust and more.
Take extra steps to prepare and protect your car where possible—such as investing in a car cover, using a garage, or even just parking safely—such as far from trees in windy conditions.
You can also buy winter tyres with the safest tread depth, make sure your lights and windshields are clear of any debris, and have a regular checkup to look for problems.