Driving advice for the winter months

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By TanyaSmith | Thursday, December 02, 2010, 14:49

Now the snow has arrived we are being told by news stations, newspapers and motoring companies that we should only travel if absolutely necessary, and stay off the roads if possible.

This sounds nice in theory, but in reality we still need to get the kids to school, drive to work, stock up at the supermarket etc etc, so for that reason it is more helpful to get tips and advice on how best to drive in these conditions, how to look after our cars and what to do if the car breaks down.

Here at Hamptonpeople we have been researching the best advice for looking after you and your car in the winter conditions.

Take care of your car

Sounds obvious, but if you look after your vehicle it tends to look after you. Here's some helpful advice from the people at AA:

Tyres:

The legal minimum of 1.6mm of tread is less than twice the thickness of a CD but during the winter a minimum of 3mm (around 3 CDs) is essential because the deeper tread will be more effective at clearing water. If your tyres are looking bare it can cause horrific consequences in this weather. We recommend getting them checked at Esher Tyre & Exhaust centre.

Engine

Modern engines don't need tucking up with a blanket on cold nights but it can help if it's an old car. Make sure you hang something from the steering wheel to remind you, though – a call to the fire brigade isn't the ideal start to the day! If you do experience a breakdown then you could contact either the RAC, AA or the local company BLG Breakdown Services. If you don't already have membership with a breakdown company then treat yourself to an early Christmas present because this is essential right now.

Windows

To keep the windscreen from misting up, soak a cloth in pure washing up liquid then let it dry. Now wipe this cloth on the inside of the windows and it will stop them misting up. If your windows have misted up, use the air–con as well as the heater – it's not just for summer and helps to dry the air.

DO NOT use water to defrost the windows – hot water can crack the screen and will just re–freeze as it cools, either on the screen or on the ground where you're standing, which could have painful consequences!

And finally...make sure you keep your fuel topped up pretty full as you never know when there might be a shortage!

Take care on the roads

We can have peace of mind if our car is in good working condition, but this still does not make it safe driving during these weather conditions.

AA spokesperson, Paul Leather said: "On colder days be particularly careful on treelined roads, as the trees prevent the sun's warmth from reaching the road, which may still be icy when all around has thawed. In fog, I usually drive with the window down and the radio off as you can hear problems like cars ahead going over bumps at low speed before you see them. On snow and ice just do everything very slowly because it can go wrong very quickly."

And that's about the best advice to give...just take your time, and go VERY slowly. Give yourself plenty of time to allow for your journey, make sure your mobile is fully charged before you leave home and keep a shovel in the boot just in case!

(oh, and maybe stock a supply of chocolate in the glove box just in case we need re-fuelling as well!)

      

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