Despite the so-called ‘temperate’ climate of the UK, it can be bitterly cold as early as September, and as late as April, and snowy Easters are by no means a total rarity – all of which keeps breakdown recovery providers busy throughout the year.
With up to two thirds of the year posing challenging driving conditions, it’s important to be prepared before setting out on any long journey, if you are to avoid needing roadside assistance.
This is true whether you face rain, fog, snow or ice – any could create traffic congestion and delays, which in turn puts your vehicle under extra strain.
Here are five essential winter driving checks that should help to keep you on the road for longer, without the aid of a breakdown recovery service.
Always make sure your tyres are in a good state of repair, with good tread depth, no side wall bulges, and that they hold the correct amount of pressure.
Top them up with air if you are setting out on a long journey, or if your car is more heavily loaded than usual, and you can make sure it handles as expected.
Have any minor chips looked at promptly; they may seem like nothing, but if water freezes inside the chip, it can expand and worsen the damage.
Also check that your internal fans and heated windscreens are all working properly, so you can quickly eliminate any condensation or fogging while out and about.
There are so many things to remember here, but the key is to keep your engine tuned up and topped up.
Fresh oil, antifreeze and filled-up windscreen washers are just the starting point, so give your engine a regular onceover to fix any ongoing maintenance issues, and it should get you to your destination with fewer problems.
It might sound stupid, but running out of fuel on a long journey is one of the most basic errors you can make – and plenty of the most experienced of drivers still do it.
If you are heading to an unfamiliar area, where you will not immediately know where to fill up, keep your tank topped up a little higher – particularly if you usually run it low to help your fuel efficiency.
5. Emergency Kit
If something does go wrong, you might be left waiting for roadside assistance, and however promptly the breakdown recovery team arrives, that can be an uncomfortable wait.
Make sure you have an emergency kit in your car – extra clothes and blankets to stay warm, a torch for if it is dark, and reflective warning triangles to place in the road ahead of your car.
On some roads it can be safer to leave your vehicle and stand on the verge or embankment, so make sure you can wrap up warm and stay safe and dry if this is the case.