Winter can be a stressful and challenging season even for confident and experienced drivers. The snow, ice, rain and poor visibility can create dangerous winter driving conditions, which is why motorists need to practice safety checks before driving and always make sure that their car is in good condition before hitting the road.
The RAC recommends using the FORCES anagram, which will help all motorists whether you are a student, experienced driver or driving as a business, to remember all of the most important checks:
It is always a good idea to check your fuel levels before setting off to make sure that you have enough for the entire journey and not letting it run too low. You don’t want to run out in the middle of winter, so making sure that you always have enough is important for safety and peace of mind.
The RAC finds that 1 in 3 vehicles that they attend has dangerously low oil levels, which can lead to breakdowns and expensive repairs. This is why you must always check your oil level before driving in winter and top up if required.
It is often issues with the tyres that lead to accidents and collisions, so this needs to be a priority when driving in hazardous conditions. This will involve examining the tyres for signs of damage, checking the tyre tread depth (it is advisable to have 3mm for winter) and topping up the tyre pressure if necessary. In addition to tyres, the other important rubber to check is the wipers and to look for splits which would mean that you need replacements.
You certainly do not want to suffer from a frozen engine or for your car to overheat, which is why you should always check your coolant levels, particularly before a long journey (be sure to check when the engine is cool).
There are also a few important electric checks to carry out before driving in winter. This will involve testing that all of your lights work and are clean and to check that the battery terminals under the bonnet are clean. You should also get the battery tested before winter and have it replaced it if is over 4 years old.
With more dirt on the roads and debris, the windscreen can suffer which can create visibility issues. This is why you need to keep your screen wash topped up with a wash which can work even in freezing conditions.
In addition to FORCES, motorists should also have a winter car emergency kit which should contain items like a blanket, torch, scraper, de-icer, spare clothes, phone charger, food and drink and warning triangle.
Winter driving – This post should help you to stay safe while driving in the winter months and keep your car in top condition.