Keeping your car on the road during winter can be a challenge. Freezing temperatures and bad weather cause adverse road conditions that can test the skill and resolve of the hardiest of drivers. But by completing a few simple checks and knowing the safest way to handle your vehicle should conditions take a turn for the worst, you can stay safe and mobile this winter.
One thing you should never do when your windscreen is covered in ice is pour boiling water over it. The sudden change in temperature will cause your windscreen to crack, rendering your car unfit for the road and you liable for a fine and points on your license if you do drive it. It is worth purchasing de-icer or an ice-scraper and starting up your car before attempting to clear the windscreen. If you must pour water on it to clear it, use only tepid water and be careful to ensure it doesn’t refreeze. Never use your wipers to clear snow as the motor could burn out due to the weight of the snow. If your wipers are stuck in place by ice, use de-icer to free them before turning them on.
It is also advisable to keep a winter emergency kit in the boot of your car, in the eventuality of a breakdown. This kit should consist of blankets, a torch, wellington boots or walking boots and battery jump leads. If you are going on a long journey, take food and a flask of hot drink so you are prepared in case of a breakdown or long hold up. If you are driving through snow and there is a chance of getting stuck, keep a shovel with your emergency equipment.
Other than a motorcycle cover policy, the most useful things a motorcyclist can possess during winter are common sense and judgment. It is dangerous enough when it has been raining heavily, if the roads are icy or covered in a thick compressed layer of snow, you should consider how safe riding your bike would be in such conditions.
If you must drive in icy or snowy conditions, try to avoid heavy or sudden braking. If you do skid, stop using the pedals and steer into the skid to avoid sliding out of control. Go down through the gears to slow down and maintain a low speed while driving down inclines.
The best thing you can have in case of a winter breakdown is breakdown cover. But if you keep these simple checks and handy tips in mind, then if the country experiences serious weather this winter, you will not be caught out. While there are no guarantees that you will not be affected by adverse conditions, if the worst should happen you will be prepared and able to stay safe.