A drivers guide to staying safe in the cold weather

But as with every celebratory occasion, unfortunately there are several things that we have to keep a keen eye on – subsequent cold winter weather being one of them.

So, to help you stay safe and prepared, here is an automotive guide to the Christmas holidays. Enjoy.

Security

With your car full of presents, it is a potential hot spot for thieves.

Although it can be tough to completely protect your vehicle against thieves, there are certain measures you can take.

– Don’t leave valuables on show in your car. If possible, take all valuables with you, or cover them up appropriately – with a boot cover for example.

– Try and park in well-lit areas or in a garage. Thieves don’t need an invitation to break into your car, so don’t think your car is safe when in a car park or outside your house.

Winter tyres

Road safety in winter is crucial. On average, it takes ten times longer for a car to stop on an icy road. To help prevent traction on the road you can purchase winter tyres or even winter socks.

Winter tyres have a special tread and are designed to work in temperatures below seven degrees Celsius. Winter last as long as summer tyres.

Winter socks, or snow socks, are a cheaper option to winter tyres as they simply slip on over your summer tyres. Although simply fitted to your car, winter socks still enhance traction and therefore safety on the winter roads.

Be prepared on the road

You can do everything in your power to avoid breaking down, but sometimes, it just can’t be avoided.It is always worth being prepared for the worst on the road, especially in the winter when the low temperatures are against you.

Some useful kit includes a shovel, a torch, high visibility clothing and a foil blankets for keeping warm.

Winter maintenance

With Christmas time comes harsher weather conditions – ranging from extreme cold to snowy plains – and therefore you may want to keep a close eye on your car’s maintenance.

If you can, have your car checked over before the winter weather hits. This ensures that things like cracks are caught early, as opposed to them coming back to bite you when frost hits your windscreen.

You may want to consider getting a car cover to stop the potential pile up of snow on your car. This will make it quicker getting your car ready to go in the mornings.

Top tip – Whatever you do, do not put boiling water on your windscreen. This can make your windscreen crack.

General rules of thumb on winter roads

Here are some tips to driving on wintery roads, courtesy of breakdown experts The AA. Some of these may seem a little self explanatory, but you may be surprised how many people forget some of the essential rules.


Gentle manoeuvres –

try not to perform any harsh manoeuvres. This can result in you losing control of the car and possible digging yourself a whole in the snow. Take your time.


Moving off –

pulling away in a car can sometimes be tough in normal conditions, so ice and snow just complicates things. To have a better chance of staying in control and not going into a wheel spin, try pulling off in second gear.


Driving on hills –

driving up and down hills when Jack Frost has been out and about can be a nightmare. When travelling up and hill, make sure you have a clear path ahead of you so that you can maintain momentum. If you have to stop halfway it can be tough getting going again.

When you are going downhill, choosing the right gear is essential. Select a lower gear so that you have more control of the car. Don’t forget to leave plenty of space between you and the car in front. Hills can be particularly tricky.


Getting stuck in the snow –

it can be tempting to just put your foot to the floor and wheel spin when you are stuck in the snow, but this is likely to just make matters worse.

When you are stuck in the snow it is best to clear as much snow from the area around the wheels as possible. You can then put something in-front of the driving wheels to help grip the surface – this could be an old piece of carpet for example.

Navigation

There is nothing worse than being stranded in adverse weather conditions. Aside to having a good old road atlas at your side, you may want to make sure you have back up when it comes to navigation.

Sat navs are of course one of the most popular choices when it comes to finding your way on the road.