As far as winters go, this one hasn’t been too bad so far - but as the ‘Beast from the East’ sweeps in from Russia, temperatures are dropping to sub-zero levels and the cold snap is causing chaos on our roads.
Snow and ice can make the simplest journey very dangerous, even for the most experienced and confident drivers, so it’s important that you and your vehicle are well prepared before driving in these extreme conditions.
Above everything, we recommend not driving unless you absolutely have to - but here are our top tips to follow before making any journey in adverse weather…
As well as checking your oil and water before your journey, make sure your antifreeze is also topped up. Most modern vehicles now come with life-long antifreeze but older models are likely to require manual filling.
As a rule of thumb, most cars require a 50/50 combination of antifreeze and water but be sure to check with a professional if you’re unsure on what is best for your vehicle. Also, make sure your windscreen wipers are clean and working, as well as all exterior lights, to ensure maximum visibility in rain or snowy weather.
It’s also important that you check your tyre tread. Investing in winter tyres is the best option but if you’ll be driving on normal tyres, the minimum tread you need to be on the road with is 2mm. That said, a minimum 3mm tread is recommended for driving in winter, as what you may get away with in the warmer months can be a huge hazard in colder, often slippery, conditions.
We recommend using a tyre pressure monitoring system to be alerted of any real-time changes in tyre pressure or temperature before an issue arises.
Stock your driving arsenal
When making a journey in these conditions, it’s important that you’re prepared for the worst, which may involve abandoning your vehicle.
As well as the items you may usually store in your car, like de-icer and an ice scraper, we also recommend packing a pair of sturdy walking boots, warm clothes, food, water, a torch, a shovel and a phone charger should you be caught short.
The extreme cold has a habit of interfering with car batteries - be it from freezing over or running electrical systems (i.e. air conditioning and rear window heating) for a prolonged period of time.
Having a compact jumpstarter, such as the Cobra JumPack XL CPP 12000, in your driving arsenal will prepare you for these situations, enabling you to quickly power up your vehicle and get back on the road.
Consider fitting a dash cam
Although there are lots of recommended precautions to take to avoid accidents, they unfortunately do happen and the chances are significantly increased when driving in snow, ice or strong winds.
In the event that you are involved in a road accident, having a dash camera fitted and recording will help you prove exactly what happened to your insurance company, which is especially important if there was another vehicle involved.
As well as the above products, Snooper stocks a range of products that will help prepare you for driving in extreme weather conditions - take a look here.