Now that we are into the winter period, SecuriGroup is offering important advice to mitigate winter weather hazards and keep you safe during this challenging season.
The UK MET Office has also launched their Ready for Winter advice, giving important and useful information for your home, travelling, your business and your community.
For more information, please visit their website here.
Winter Tyre Safety
In icy and rainy conditions, it's even more important to have tyres with enough grip.
When the temperature drops below 7°C, the tread compound in normal tyres begins to harden, providing less grip.
However, winter weather tyres contain more natural rubber and advanced silica compounds to minimise the hardening effect.
This extra grip and shorter stopping distance in cold, damp conditions means winter weather tyres are the safest option from October through to March, when temperatures rarely rise above 7°C.
Check the condition of your tyres (including the spare) for the correct pressure, as well as for their tread depth. The depth should, by law, be at least 1.6mm for cars, but it may be worth considering replacing them before they get to this depth.
The 20p test is a simple, quick and easy way of checking the tyre tread of your car's wheels. Just take a 20p coin and insert it into the tread grooves on the tyre. If you can't see the outer band on the coin, your tyres are above the legal limit.
However, if you can see the band and that section of the coin is still visible, your tyres could be unsafe and require professional inspection by a mechanic.
Drivers should conduct the 20p test every month to check tyre tread depth.
Helpful Tips For Driving in Bad Weather:
- Check your tyre pressure and tread regularly, especially when temperatures start to drop. Cold temperatures will typically reduce your tyre pressure - the minimum tread for tyres should be at least 5mm for winter.
- Consider fitting winter weather tyres, as they offer better traction and handling in a variety of winter conditions. They are specially made for driving in mud and snow and bear the marks M+S, M.S or M&S.
- Check charging of the car battery and make battery tests, as the cold weather can make the vehicle battery work much harder.
- Make sure that your wiper blades are in good condition to fully clear your windscreen.
- Keep the windscreen, washers, mirrors and lights clean and clear of snow and ice.
- Clear all snow and ice from your vehicle and trailer to avoid ice flying onto vehicles behind you.
On The Move?
If you need to travel during the winter period, remember that severe weather can strike at any time. Be prepared and plan ahead before setting off on any long journeys.
Before travelling, check your local and national weather forecast and keep up-to-date with the latest weather warnings.
Consider whether you need to travel during bad weather: you are strongly advised to wait until the weather improves.
Emergency Travel Kit
It's worth packing a few essential items in your car's boot to make sure you're ready in case of getting stuck in cold and wintry weather.
RAC experts give the lowdown on what to put in your car winter kit:
- ICE SCRAPER AND DE-ICER
These are basic items but winter must-haves nonetheless. Legally, you must keep your front and rear windscreen clear of snow and ice before driving.
- IN-CAR PHONE CHARGER
And related to both of these – have an in-car phone charger so you can top up your battery even when you're out and about. But what if you break down somewhere with no phone signal? If you're on the motorway you'll need to locate the nearest emergency phone. On quieter roads, assess the situation - it may be a case of walking to the nearest house or sitting tight and waiting for a passing motorist to stop and help.
- WARM CLOTHES AND BLANKETS
It's sensible to have some warm clothes to wrap up in case of a breakdown - a big coat, gloves, a spare jumper, hat and gloves.
- HIGH VISIBILTY JACKET
If you need to leave the vehicle in the dark, it's crucial that you can be seen by other motorists – it could even save your life.
- JUMP LEADS
Flat or dead batteries can happen to any car regardless of age and at any time, but in cold weather such problems are far more likely to occur.
Always have a set of jump start cables or jump leads in the car, and here's some RAC advice on how to jump start a car.
- EMPTY FUEL CAN
In an ideal world you would plan your journey to include fuel stops but sometimes things don't go to plan. If you find yourself without fuel, it's essential to have an empty fuel can available.
- FOOD AND DRINK
When setting off on a journey – particularly one in winter – you should take some food and drink provisions. Hot drinks in a flask are also a good idea.
Unless the weather is very snowy you shouldn't usually find deep snow on treated roads, but if you're driving on smaller roads or there is a snowstorm or blizzard you may be surprised. With a shovel you can dig yourself out
- TWO REFLECTIVE WARNING TRIANGLES
A warning triangle is used to warn other motorists that your vehicle has broken down. Ideally you need two - one to position in front of the car and the second at the rear.
And you might be surprised how far away they should be placed - the signs should be at least 45 metres away from the vehicle.
The winter sun can seriously affect the driver's visibility, creating a glare which makes it difficult to see the road. Always ensure you have a pair of sunglasses to hand.
Remember: Don't assume you can rely on your smartphone!
Despite its usefulness, a phone is not a suitable replacement for specifically designed safety equipment. For example, a phone light won't really give you visibility if you're stuck by the side of country road in winter.
A large torch with spare batteries or a wind-up torch which doesn't require battery power is essential for your vehicle.
We also rely heavily on phones and in-built car technology for maps but if you have no battery in your car you may find you are limited with your phone battery too.
It's worth having a paper road atlas in case of diversions or getting lost.
You can read more in-depth advice about what to put in your winter breakdown kit from RAC.
Helpful Tips For Driving in Bad Weather:
- Tune in to the forecast and Met Office weather warnings
- Check the road conditions and think about alternative routes
- Consider public transport as an alternative
- Tell someone where you're going and what time you expect to be back
- Allow extra time for your journey
- Fully charge your mobile phone, and take a charger with you
- Make sure you have appropriate clothing, equipment and food
- Pack an emergency travel kit if you are travelling by car - this will stand you in good stead at any time of year
- Add anti-freeze to the radiator and winter additive to the windscreen washer bottles
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