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Drivers often struggle with the change in season, so it pays to be prepared and follow some simple tips below to help stay safe on the roads this autumn.
Keep your windscreen clear
Make sure you regularly clean your windscreen. Check it over for any scratches, abrasions and chips and if you do find any, try to get them fixed before the colder temperatures kick in as this can make the damage worse. Keep your windscreen washer regularly topped up with a more concentrated screen wash mix to prevent the screen freezing up when on the move, and don’t forget to pack a de-icer and scraper somewhere safe in the car for those necessary moments.
Check your tyres
Tyres need to be regularly checked the entire year round, but it is particularly important in the winter months that you consider investing in winter tyres if long-term weather is forecast. If you live in a rural area, or are subject to regular temperatures of 7 degrees and below, winter tyres may be a good idea. You should also check the legal limit of your tyres – tread depth must be 1.6mm or above, but anything under 3mm may affect your car’s grip and braking performance.
Create a winter check list
It’s a good idea to be prepared for when the really cold weather sets in, which could be as early as November if you’re living in the UK. Make a list of things that need to be checked such as car battery, bulbs, windscreen wiper blades and electrics. The very last thing you need is to be stranded in a cold car in the dark waiting for a recovery team to arrive.
Pack the essentials
If you’re heading out in the colder weather, make sure you dress appropriately – do not simply rely on your heater for warmth, if this fails for any reason or your car breaks down, you could be easily caught out. For the really bad weather, pack a survival kit and store it in the boot. The kit should include spare clothes, a torch, mobile phone charger, some emergency rations such as water, chocolate and a tow rope and shovel to help yourself and others.
Richard Gladman, IAM RoadSmart’s head of driving and riding standards said: “Winter is unpredictable but Highways England and your local authority are already planning for it by building up their salt stocks and getting the snow clearing equipment out of storage. If they are getting ready then why shouldn’t you? With a little bit of preparation you can avoid getting stuck and adding to the problems that bad weather can bring.”