Is your car prepared for winter weather?

Thursday, January 8, 2015 - 15:00
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Fail to prepare, prepare to fail

With much of the country returning to work and school this week (Boo! Hiss!) the roads are going to get significantly busier (Boo! Hiss!)

With this in mind, the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) have released a series of recommendations to ensuren that drivers are adequately prepared for all the potential pitfalls that Jack Frost can have up his sleeve.

Here are 10 ways to make sure your winter survival kit is up to spec:

  • A torch is an absolute essential for your car boot. With street lighting in many places being turned off during the night it’s impossible to seek out help if your car breaks down in the dark or see what has gone wrong. If, for example, you have a punctured tyre and can repair this yourself a torch will obviously make the task much easier.
  • Ensure you have a fully charged mobile phone with you that has the number of your breakdown service provider stored.
  • If your car breaks down on the motorway you should wait for help on the hard shoulder. Make sure you leave your car and stand to the left side of it behind the barrier – even in the cold weather. Many accidents on the motorway involve traffic colliding with vehicles on the hard shoulder.
  • When you experience a break down in the rain, ice, sleet or snow, your body temperature will fall rapidly. A useful precaution is to take some warm clothes and a blanket with you to keep you warm.
  • A small bag of sand or an old bit of carpet will give you better traction if your wheels are left spinning in snow and ice. Carry either of these in your car boot throughout the winter.
  • Don’t rely solely on a satnav to guide you with your journey. There will be times when your satnav loses its signal. Ensure you have a road atlas to hand in case you get lost, and that you understand how to read it.
  • Keep a mini first aid kit in your car boot. You never know when you might need this so it’s best kept all year round.
  • With often only eight hours of daylight during the depths of winter, ensuring you are visible if your car breaks down is critical. Carry a red warning triangle and high visibility vest.
  • Keep a snow shovel handy as you never know when your car will get stuck during freezing conditions. However, if weather conditions worsen where you are you should avoid travelling altogether.
  • Don’t forget road salt stains lights and obscures glass significantly, so keep your windows and lights clean with water.

The average motorist is very poorly prepared for bad weather and the winter and you may be surprised at how few of these items you carry in your car. Often times a driver will take for granted that someone will not necessarily always be on hand to rescue them if they run into difficulty. How many of these ten items do you carry? Let us know in the comments below

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