Winter can be one of the most challenging seasons for driving. Weather extremes might include heavy snow, freezing fog, reduced visibility, slippery conditions on the road, and more. But it is also a time when many of us are still very busy – especially when preparing for Christmas and New Year.
While it is important to prepare well for driving in Winter and take all the necessary safety precautions, this does not need to be difficult or time-consuming.
With the simple but highly effective tips below, you can prepare your car to meet the challenges of Winter and enjoy a smooth season of driving.
TIP 1: Book In Advance
As the busy holiday season of Halloween, Bonfire Night, and Christmas approaches, demand for services may be higher than ever. This is also true of all things automotive.
If you urgently need a repair or service, consider booking early to avoid disappointment. Many garages are currently experiencing busy periods and may have weeks of waiting time to consider.
This is also the case for driving tests – which have experienced a major backlog since lockdown, when social distancing made taking the test difficult or even impossible.
Leaving an issue too late, such as a problem that then makes the car unsafe to drive, can be a major inconvenience. To avoid disappointment, aim to book necessary services and appointments well in advance.
TIP 2: Reduce Your Driving
Where possible, it can be helpful to reduce your driving in the Winter to only include essential journeys.
Sticking to essential journeys can be safer as well as more environmentally friendly. You will not be contributing to additional congestion on the roads, or risking dangerous icy conditions, for example.
If you use your car for work or business deliveries, consider delegating the task or outsourcing where possible. For example, more businesses than ever are switching to professional couriers to reduce their own driving.
Decreasing your driving – or at least driving in a more fuel-efficient manner – is a great way to reduce overall spending and keep your Winter budget in check too. This is especially important due to certain seasonal added costs such as Christmas shopping and increased heating bills, for example.
TIP 3: Make Any Minor Repairs
It can be tempting to skip a car service until we find we have a serious issue that needs to be addressed. But taking early action can be safer and more cost-effective in the long run.
Winter weather often exacerbates existing complications. It can make small issues into big problems in a short space of time, and leave you urgently needing a service at a very busy time of year.
You can avoid this problem by doing a realistic assessment of what is currently bothering you about your car – such as unusual sounds, struggles, or a crack in the windscreen, for example – and then booking in at a reputable garage to get everything sorted.
Shoring up minor issues is a great way to reduce the likelihood of a major issue later down the line as the weather becomes more severe.
TIP 4: Be Prepared
There is no better way to deal with an emergency or inconvenience than to be prepared for it in advance. Any change of season – and perhaps especially Winter – is a great time to take steps to prepare your car.
This can include ensuring that you have up-to-date breakdown cover or roadside rescue in the event of an emergency, as well as packing your own essentials kit. A kit might include anti-freeze, blankets, a torch, mobile phone charger, water, and any details for your breakdown cover.
It can also be worth checking any important routes in advance in case of diversions or accidents, and allowing extra time for journeys in the event of bad weather. This may be especially important for visits to family, or to Santa’s Grotto!
Plan ahead, allow extra time, and you will be prepared for any eventuality.
TIP 5: Protect Your Car
The Winter season can be punishing for a car. Damage can be caused by excess moisture, frost, rust, and more.
Take extra steps to prepare and protect your car where possible – such as investing in a car cover, using a garage, or even just parking safely – such as far from trees in windy conditions.
You could also invest in specialised Winter tyres with the safest tread depth, incorporate a regular check process in your routine to identify any problems, as well as being sure to clean your lights and windscreens of any debris.