Preparing for the Worst in Winter!

By: Rick Cadger

In recent years we have seen snowfall render many roads impassable. With the growing number of cars on the roads, stranded and abandoned vehicles can compound the situation by preventing snowploughs and gritting trucks from clearing affected routes. The media have covered these episodes quite thoroughly, and the picture painted is one of general unpreparedness.

This lack of preparation is understandable. The UK nestles comfortably in a temperate zone where extremes of weather are rare compared to those seen at other latitudes. Nevertheless, sudden bad weather does happen here, and can cause major inconvenience and, sometimes, even real danger.

It is sensible for the motorist to take at least basic precautions against the possibility of being stranded in snow. This is especially true of those whose journeys take them on motorways, or into sparsely populated rural areas where assistance may be hard to find.

The first thing to do is to make sure that your vehicle is ready for the winter. Get antifreeze checked, and make sure that screen wash reservoirs are charged with a strong enough solution to resist freezing. Check tyres and brake fluid. This would also be a good time to get any heater faults checked out.

It’s also wise to keep your fuel tank well topped up, as your fuel provides the heat as well as the propulsion for your car.

Slushy winter roads can make a real mess of your car, so you may want to give your door mirrors and a wipe over a bit more often when the weather is bad. Grubby number plates in particular can result in unwelcome attention from the police, delaying your journey even more.

At times of bad weather, especially if travelling through areas where mobile phone signals may be weak, it is a good idea to let people know of your travel plans, as well as your estimated times of arrival at your destinations.

The rest of the precautions are mostly a matter of stocking the back of your car with some common-sense supplies. The following list is a pretty comprehensive one, and you may have neither the space nor the need for everything on it. That said, the more of these items you carry with you, the more prepared you will be for the unexpected.

  • Emergency fuel can (full)
  • Blanket(s)
  • Bottle of water
  • High Calorie food (chocolate, cereal bars)
  • Flashlight
  • Spare flashlight batteries/bulbs
  • Shovel
  • In-car mobile phone charger
  • Sturdy, water resistant shoes or boots
  • Waterproof coat with hood
  • Hat and gloves (body heat is lost very rapidly through extremities)
  • Additional clothing (dry socks, extra sweater)

If the worst happens and your car does get stranded due to ice and snow, it is best to think very carefully before leaving the vehicle, especially at night when darkness and minimum temperatures mean that conditions are at their worst. It is, perhaps, less dangerous in town, but in more remote rural areas it may be best to remain with your vehicle unless you have a clear, achievable destination in mind which you are sure you can reach on foot.

Obviously, every situation is unique and the advice given above, while sound, may not always be the best way to proceed. This information is intended to highlight options that you may wish to consider when preparing for winter driving, and Regtransfers.co.uk cannot accept liability for mishap arising through the reader deciding freely to follow the advice in this article.

Winter Driving
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