The first aim of any journey is to make sure that everyone gets from A to Z as safely as possible. To ensure that drivers and their families are safe on the road, regardless of the weather conditions or time of day, Valeo recommends the following considerations:
A for Air Conditioning
A fully functioning air conditioning system ensures that visibility is never compromised and it’s possible to demist the windscreen and windows as quickly as possible when out in traffic. Having the right temperature in the car is also key to being able to drive comfortably and not need a thick jacket that can hinder mobility.
B for Battery
A flat car battery is a pain at any time of the year, but much more likely to come about when temperatures hit 0 or below. If it’s not possible to turn on your engine once a day for a few minutes, it’s important to at least run your engine once a week for 20 to 30 minutes and charge the circuit.
Battery problems are the cause of more call outs for breakdown services in the winter than anything else.
C for Car Kit
Creating a winter car kit is invaluable for when things go wrong, and things are always far more likely to go wrong in the tough weather conditions that the end of the year brings. A number of useful items to bear in mind are:
- Safety yellow jacket
- Reflective warning triangle
- Ice scraper and de-icer
- Jump leads
- Car phone charger and phone battery case
- Hot Drink Flask
- Sunglasses (for a low sitting sun)
L for Lights
A commonly overlooked yet major safety consideration is the quality of a vehicle’s lights. Excellent light bulbs are not only imperative to meaning that you can see everything on your path when driving at night, but also in not blinding any oncoming traffic.
Always ensure that headlamps and rear lamps are clean from any dust. Lights can also be checked at a garage to make sure that they won’t be the cause of accidents.
O for Oil
It is often easy to forget that oil is just as important as fuel for the full functioning of a vehicle, even though it’s not topped up as often. With the use of a dip stick, it’s a simple check to see whether more oil is needed and how much. Taking care not to exceed the required amount is also important.
R for Rest
Fatigue occurs more quickly during the winter due to the need for greater concentration when driving. Slippery roads, darkness, and visual fatigue (resulting from the headlights of oncoming cars and bad weather conditions) are all assaults on one’s senses. Taking a 20mn break every two hours, and where possible, short naps is crucial to preventing accidents.
S for Screenwash
It only takes minutes to replenish a vehicle’s screen wash, but one thing many drivers don’t consider is whether the product they are using can function at sub-zero temperatures. Buying the cheapest product on the market isn’t necessarily the best option.
T for Tyres
Having the correct tyre tread depth and air pressure are never as important as during the winter months. With wet, icy roads and potholes to contend with, it’s necessary to ensure the recommended depth and pressure for a maximum load is always in place. A vehicle’s exact requirements can be found in the user’s manual. It’s a simple thing to test, but not doing so could have dramatic consequences.
Brake pads and discs also are important parts to check as they are more susceptible to damage when driving in tough weather conditions.
W for Wiper Blades
Rain, ice, snow, and road salt are serious obstacles to a clean windscreen in the darker months of the year, and top quality wiper blades are the best way to combat such hazards. It’s generally recommended to change a vehicle’s wiper blades once a year, and therefore just before the onset of winter is definitely the most advisable time to do so.