Even if you don’t live in a remote hilly location, winter driving can be challenging. Shorter days, snow, ice, flooded roads, fog and a low sun make winter a busy time for motor insurance claims.

Here are some simple measures you can take to make sure you stay safe on the roads and not get caught out by the weather: - 

Preparation

Don’t leave that service – get it booked in good time. If your car isn’t due for a service you can still make sure you check oil levels, brake fluid, screen wash, tyre tread and tyre pressure. Make sure they are all well within the manufacturers’ recommendations. You can also top up the coolant with anti-freeze to help prevent damage to pipes from the cold.

Breakdown providers say that January is their busiest month for call outs due to flat batteries, does yours need replacing?

 Driving

If you really must drive in snow and ice the most important piece of advice is to take it slowly. Stopping on ice can take up to ten times longer and your tyres won’t be capable of gripping if you’re going too fast. Slow down gradually using your gears and use the brakes lightly when going down- hill. If you break too heavily you can lock up the tyres which may result in loss of control. Even when driving a 4x4 you won’t be able stop any quicker than a normal car so steady is best.

Keep your lights, windows, number plates and wheel arches clear of snow and be aware that icy patches can still be there even if you can’t see them when the snow has melted. Don’t rev the engine too much if you do get stuck in snow, instead, put the car in a higher gear (second could be best) and gently rock it forwards and backwards.

If you get caught in a snow drift, don’t leave your vehicle, stay put and call your breakdown provider or the emergency services if you are in a dangerous position.

Emergency Supplies

Be prepared for the worst! It’s tempting not to bother with a coat if you aren’t planning to get out of the car before your final destination but should you breakdown or have an accident you will be pleased to have one in the car. A blanket, tow rope, torch and a shovel could also come in very handy. You may even consider taking drinks and snacks in case you are stranded for a long time.

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