keeping you up to speed
Driving in the wet weather is something we have all had plenty of practice in this year, with the rain seeming to fall non-stop throughout the ‘summer’. But as winter draws near, wet roads take on added dangers that we need to be prepared for. Even a small skid and prang on a slippery road can mean a claim against your car insurance and the loss of your no claims discount.
Driving in the wet is a real test for your car, so here are our tips to make sure it is in the best possible shape to keep you safe this winter.
Winter roads tend to carry the residue from gritting, which means that the surface water will be dirty and quickly mess up your screen. If you don’t keep your washer bottle topped up, this soon accumulates as spots and splashes. The next time you turn on your wipers, instead of clearing your screen, they will just smear this muck across your view, making your windscreen virtually opaque and making driving highly dangerous. Add in a touch of low winter sun and you could be in real trouble. So it makes sense to always check your washer bottle in the winter and keep it topped up with a freeze-resistant mixture.
Wiper blades also need to be checked as we head into the winter months. Frayed or damaged wiper blades simply don’t clear your screen as effectively as you need them to, and the streaks and smears they leave behind are at best distracting and can sometimes obscure your view completely. At around £10 each, it really is a false economy not to replace your wiper blades.
Keeping the inside of your screen clear is also important. If your blowers are blocked, or your heater doesn’t work, you’ll find it so much harder to clear your screen. Wiping it with your sleeve never really works, and it all just mists up again a few minutes later. So get your garage to check and fix your heater and screen vents now before the condensation causes you serious problems.
In winter, water is not the only problem – other factors work with the wet to make road surfaces ultra-slippery. Fallen leaves rapidly turn to mulch that can take away your traction in a second. If the water freezes, ice can be even more dangerous. Coping with such conditions is difficult at the best of times, but if your tyres are worn, you will find it even more difficult. So don’t wait until your tyres reach the legal minimum, make sure you maintain a good depth of tread throughout the winter to keep the firmest possible grip on the road.
This doesn’t mean more timidly, but it makes no sense to drive at the maximum permissible speed limit when the road conditions scream that you shouldn’t. Curb your speed, make sure that you have your lights on if and when necessary, even during daylight, and be alert to other road users. Many people panic if their car goes