Winter Driving: Being prepared for hazardous driving conditions
With flurries of snow in the air across the country recently, we think most of Sussex did well to avoid any serious (usually over an inch causes havoc!) amounts of snow to cause difficult driving conditions on our roads. However, this shouldn’t stop you thinking about making sure your car is safe and prepared for any pilgrimages you may be making over the Christmas holidays to visit family and friends.
Here’s the basics;
Check tyre your pressures
Make sure they are inflated to the required volumes. Do this when the tyres are warm (after driving for a few miles) as air expands when warm, so checking tyre pressure in the depth of a winter cold snap on your driveway is not ideal.
Check your tyre tread depths
We’re not asking, “are they legal?” here. Although 1.6 mm across the tyre treads is the requirement, just in case you didn’t know (you can also do they 20p tyre tread depth test to check). When snow and slushy ice compacts as you drive on it, it will fill the treads of your tyres making them like slick racing tyres. The more (deeper) the tyre treads are, the better they work to provide grip in poor weather conditions.
Monza and the Tyre Safety Experts at MIRA recommend a minimum of 3mm.
Their tests showed that after this amount stopping distances and grip performance is dramatically reduced by as much as 44% on worn tyres below the 3mm level!
Check tyre condition
Whilst doing the other two checks, visually inspect the condition of your tyres for cuts, stones, nails, or anything that doesn’t look quite right. Replace any tyres that show signs of damage immediately.
Check your engine fluids
Oil; again, check when the engine is warm but has been switched off for about 20 minutes or so, to enable the oil to drain back to the sump and give an accurate reading.
Radiator; DO THIS WHEN THE ENGINE IS COOL! Radiators are a pressurised system, if opened when the engine is hot the water can explode out of the cap!
Screen wash; is it full? Is there any anti-freeze wash in there? Are your washer jets blocked? Check all these items regularly.
Tip – carefully clean washer jet nozzles out with a pin/needle
Check all your lights are working
It still amazes us how often we see cars driving in winter with their lights not working correctly. It’s not only illegal, but also can be a main cause of an accident due to poor vision or reduced “pinch-point” estimates for passing cars. Check them all!
Our final and probably the best tip!
Of course, if you are unsure on how to do any of these checks, or you would just prefer the peace-of-mind that a professional mechanic has given your vehicle a full car health check then you can book it in with us here at Monza Sport in Ashington and we’ll be able to report and fix anything that may need sorting before you travel.