While it might have been possible to kid yourself that winter was still some way off for most of November, the last few weeks have shown us that, much as we might hate the idea of it, the Great British winter has indeed arrived and arrived with a vengeance! Of course one of the factors which makes winter in this country so unique (rear challenging) is that you're never quite sure what kind of season you're going to get, or whether the worst of the weather will fall before or after Christmas. Driving rain and wind can give way to blue skies and frost within days, swiftly making way for snow and sleet a few hours later – its a lottery
With this in mind, and to help make your winter journeys that bit easier, Toyo UK has put together the following article, a list of top tips to help you and your car navigate winter 2017 in safety.
1) Prepare For The Worst
No one likes the idea of breaking down at any time of the year, much less when the weather is rotten and the mercury is in single figures, but it does happen. Indeed, older, high-mileage cars are more likely to 'thrown in the towel' when it's cold outside and a greater strain is place upon their running gear, hence why it pays to be prepared. Pack warm clothing, a blanket, phone chargers and adaptors, some snacks and, most importantly, your breakdown cover card!
2) Give Your Car Some TLC
As we've already mentioned, cars are more likely to feel the strain when the going gets frosty, so all the more to give yours some care and attention before the worst of the weather begins to bite. Basic stuff like oil, brake fluid, coolant and screen-wash levels can be done at home, as can making sure that you've enough anti-freeze. It's also worth checking that your tyres have plenty of tread left on them – important all year round, but especially so between November and March when ice and frost are at their most likely.
3) De-Ice & De-Mist Properly
As tempting as it is to set off as soon you can, it's important to take the time to fully clear your window of both frost and condensation. Not only can you be fined for driving with an obscured windscreen (as much as £60), doing so is deeply unsafe and will place yourself and your fellow road users in danger. De-icing spray is both cheap and effective, while investing in a dedicated scraper will save your knuckles and your credit card from frost-based damage.
4) De-Misting Tips
Odd as it might sound, it pays to turn your air-con up at the same time as heater. This will help keep the interior of the car dry and will serve to draw away much of the warm, condensation-inducing breath coming from your mouth. Opening the windows can have a similar effect if your car doesn't have air con. It's also worth noting that, weird as it might sound, shaving foam can be a useful ally in winter, serving to keep your windscreen free from dirt and, as a result, less likely to mist up. It's a proven trick and one used be pro ice hockey players on their masks.
5) Invest In A Set Of Toyo Celsius Tyres
It's a common misconception that 'winter tyres' are a poor investment, with the most common argument given being the lack of dependable snow on a yearly basis. While it's true that snow is an infrequent visitor to most of the UK, it's a fallacy to think that 'winter tyres' aren't needed, especially when you realise that they're better known as 'seasonal tyres.' A good example of this is the Toyo Celsius, a tyre designed for extended mobility in cold temperatures and with a focus on winter and wet weather driving. This doesn't mean that the Celsius is just for winter use though, far from it; the Celsius' innovative construction means that it's suitable for use all year round, meaning that when the weather changes, your tyres don't have to.
6) Setting Off In The Snow
Commencing a trip in the snow in a safe manner requires a different approach, whether or not the car in question is fitted with seasonal tyres. It's important not to be over-zealous with either the throttle or brakes, so keep the revs low and your pace sedate, and change up to a higher gear as quickly as you can – it's amazing how swiftly you can loose control in the snow. You can even start in 2nd gear to dramatically reduce wheel-spin and retain in full control.
7) Driving In The Snow
Keeping a sensible stopping distance between you and the car in front is important all year round, but it's especially so when driving in the snow. It can take up to 10 times longer to pull up to a stop when braking in the snow, long enough for you to have made contact with the car in front and all manner of street furniture! Drive slowly and smoothly and with gentle, progressive inputs, always remembering to steer into the slide if your wheels do brake traction. Keeping calm will help you remain in full control of your car at all times, and will ensure you reach your destination safely.
8) Be Aware Of Local Conditions
It can be very tempting to think that once the sun is fully out, conditions will improve throughout the road network, but this isn't always the case. Winter sun is normally pretty weak and won't melt all the snow all of the time, meaning it pays to drive with care, keeping your eyes peeled for overshadowed areas where deep snow and frost is likely to remain.
Piercing, low-level sunlight can be every bit as dangerous as deep snow if it catches you unaware, and, unlike the white stuff, it's guranteed to make and an appearance each and every year. Sunglasses are the ideal solution, dramatically reducing the amount of glare that you're subjected to and helping you to keep your concentration on the road.
For more details on Toyo tyres, please click to www.toyo.co.uk