I know we all like to moan about the weather (it’s the great Scottish pastime) but we are lucky to live in a country where we can enjoy all the seasons. It doesn’t happen often but sometimes winter can particularly bad, and this year the weather experts are predicting one of the coldest on records – although Sean Batty hasn’t said it so maybe we don’t need to panic just yet. Even so, it’s still good to be prepared. Just in case!
In winter call-outs to breakdown services like the AA increase by up to 80%! This is mostly due to flat batteries – having the heating on because its cold, the lights on because its dark and people using their cars more because the weather isn’t as nice. All these take their toll on your poor battery.
There are a few tips you can use to avoid being one of these statistics and make sure that you and your car get through the winter without any problems.
- Have your car serviced – sounds like an obvious one but try and time your annual service for October/November.That way you’ll know that everything is okay for heading into the winter.
- Check your fuel tank! Seriously, I cannot stress this enough. We all use more petrol in the winter and it’s so easy to think that you have enough for your journey only to realise that you were wrong before you get where you’re going. You definitely don’t want to be stuck outside in the winter in the middle of nowhere.
- Buy anti-freeze – everyone knows to get antifreeze for the windscreen. This speeds up deicing the window in the morning. You should also get some for the radiator. The last thing you want is for that to crack because the water froze. You should check your manual for the correct type for your car.
- Rubber! Tyres and wipers!!!! Lets be honest, most of us don’t check these but if its icy or snowy it is more important than ever. You should have at least 3mm in your tread and you can buy a cheap tool to make it easier for a couple of pounds.
- Stick to the busy roads – I know it might be quicker to get where you’re going by taking a short cut, but when it’s cold the main roads get gritted first. If possible always use busy roads when travelling in the winter. It may be slower but you’re more likely to get there.
- Take it easy – if it’s snowy take off in second gear and take your foot off the clutch gently. If you’re travelling up hill make sure you have room ahead so you don’t have to stop part way up. Downhill, slow down before the hill and leave plenty of room – use a low gear and try to avoid braking. The key is gentle manoeuvres.
- Always be prepared! Try as we might sometimes things just happen. So be prepared for it. Keep a blanket, small shovel, first aid kit, torch, bottled water and some long life snacks (like energy bars) in the boot. This way, if you do breakdown in the winter you’ll be able to keep yourself going until help gets there.