Avoid a driving disaster this winter

From changing bulbs to topping up your fluids.

Avoid a driving disaster this winter

Postby LiDL » Fri Jan 15, 2010 2:30 pm

Harsh winter weather conditions can make driving very dangerous at this time of year. Here are my eight top tips to help you stay safe and sound on the roads this season…

Darker evenings and colder weather cause havoc on the roads every winter, and this unfortunately leads to an increased number of car insurance claims.

According to research by More Th>n, motorists are 50% more likely to breakdown in January, February and March when temperatures are colder, than during any other month of the year.

To help protect both you and your car from costly catastrophes this winter, here are eight checks you should carry out before you hit the road.

1. Get a winter service

If you haven't done so already, it's a good idea to book your car into a garage to have it checked over by a mechanic.

It is better to find out now if there is anything wrong with your car so you can get it fixed before the weather gets any worse.


2. Check your tyres

When the roads are icy and wet, it's crucial your car's tyres are in tip top condition to reduce the risk of skidding. Ensure the tread depth meets the legal requirement of 1.6mm and check the pressure.

Pumping up your tyres should also increase your car's fuel efficiency and help reduce your petrol costs. You can find out more about how to make your fuel go further in my article 'Six ways to put the brake on car costs.'


3. Inspect your lights

Darker evenings and fog can make it more difficult to see, and be seen, on the roads. Make sure all your lights are all working, and replace any broken bulbs.

It's also important you ensure your windscreen and mirrors are clean, your wiper blades are in good condition and to top up your screenwash if necessary. Always check your windows are completely clear of ice before you go on your way. However, avoid using hot water on your windows as this can cause your screen to crack.


4. Look under the bonnet

During the winter months, it's important to keep a close eye on your car's oil, brake fluid and anti freeze levels.

Ensure you also check the battery is charged and in good condition as you will be using your heater and lights more, making your battery work harder.


5. Pack an emergency kit

Put together an emergency survival kit and keep it in your car in case you break down or have an accident. Include items such as a warm coat, blanket, torch, first aid kit, food and a fully charged mobile phone.

Make sure you also have the telephone number for your breakdown service and car insurance company close to hand.


6. Watch out for frosting

With frosty mornings often comes an increase in car crime.

Opportunist thieves roam the icy streets looking for vehicles left unattended while their owner warms up the engine and then goes back inside the house to get ready for work.

This is known as 'frosting.' Be aware that if your car is stolen and you had left your keys in the ignition, your car insurance provider is likely to consider this negligent and refuse to pay out a penny.


7. Allow extra time

In icy and frosty conditions it's important to keep your speed down and keep a safe distance between you and the car in front. You should normally allow 2 seconds between you and the vehicle in front, but this should be doubled in bad weather conditions.

Remember that other drivers are likely to be travelling at a slower pace, so try to be patient. Plan your journey carefully in advance, check the weather before you leave and always allow extra time to reach your destination.

Make sure you pay extra attention to the road and try not to brake or accelerate suddenly - especially when you are going around corners.


8. Check your cover

Now is a good time to go through your car insurance policy with a fine tooth comb and check you have the right level of cover for you.

For example, if you drive an expensive car you are rather fond of it may be worth upgrading your cover to fully comprehensive insurance. On the other hand if your car is old and isn't worth much you might be content to opt for cheaper third party, fire and theft cover. However, be aware that this type of policy will only cover you for any damage you cause to another person's vehicle, and not damage to your own car.


Finally, it's a sensible idea to consider investing in breakdown cover. This will offer you peace of mind that if you do break down on a cold, dark winter's night, you will not be left stranded in the middle of nowhere.

Taken from an article by Victoria Bischoff (Link)
User avatar
LiDL
VIP Member
VIP Member
 
Posts: 7563
Joined: Wed Jul 01, 2009 11:34 am
Location: Sunderland
Owns: Gen 3 Hyundai Coupe
View: : Pics of My Car [?]
Move Poster Profile To The Other Side




Advertisement
Please Support The Club
 
Remove Ads With VIP
Donate using Paypal

Re: Avoid a driving disaster this winter

Postby suzannie » Sun Jan 17, 2010 8:18 pm

Great advise Lidl, it's surprising the amount of people who drive around with bulbs not working...
Would also like to add that during Winter months drivers should use dipped headlights during the day
User avatar
suzannie
Club Regular
Club Regular
 
Posts: 326
Joined: Wed Jan 13, 2010 10:00 pm
Location: Killarney
Owns: Gen 3 Hyundai Coupe
View: : Pics of My Car [?]
Move Poster Profile To The Other Side

Re: Avoid a driving disaster this winter

Postby thedupleman » Sun Jan 17, 2010 9:12 pm

LOOK AHEAD AND READ WHATS HAPPENING

keep your foot near your clutch and use your gears not your brakes-unless its auto in which case your at the mercy of the gods.by far the easiest way to stay out of trouble is look ahead for it
User avatar
thedupleman
Club Addict
Club Addict
 
Posts: 13388
Joined: Wed Jul 01, 2009 9:20 pm
Location: Tavistock,Devon
Owns: Gen 3 Hyundai Coupe
View: : Pics of My Car [?]
Move Poster Profile To The Other Side

Re: Avoid a driving disaster this winter

Postby paul896 » Mon Jan 18, 2010 11:49 pm

nice find LiDL.my only bit to add is just take it handy and dont drive like a tool, the time of the bad snow here it was frightening to see how many were driving too fast.
User avatar
paul896
Club Addict
Club Addict
 
Posts: 3721
Joined: Thu Jul 02, 2009 4:12 am
Location: Cork
Owns: Gen 3 Hyundai Coupe
View: : Pics of My Car [?]
Move Poster Profile To The Other Side

Re: Avoid a driving disaster this winter

Postby Soul » Sat Jan 23, 2010 12:29 am

Errr, I have a couple of comments with the advice posted. I'll detail them as follows...

"Pumping up your tyres should also increase your car's fuel efficiency and help reduce your petrol costs." BAD move in snow and Icy conditions
Increased tyre pressure reduces the surface area contact area between the tyre and the road. In wet conditions, the normal manufacturer's tyre pressures are fine. However in ice and snow conditions you will actually want to drop your tyre pressure by between 2 and 4 PSI (about 2 PSI drop for tyres with a low profile, and 4 psi for OEM wheels). I know it's not economical on fuel - but what's a few MPG and slightly increased tyre wear (possibly) compared to lack of grip and smacking your car into something? (As if you hit something, it'll be your fault, no matter what the weather).

If possible, carry a pump to inflate your tyres and a tyre pressure gauge (with a stud to let the tyres down if necessary). Electric pumps are preferable as if in ice or snow conditions, you don't want to be sliding about trying to pump up your tyres up if you get a slow flat. Also, if you are driving on back roads where there has been no gritting or snow clearance, you may need to lower your tyre pressures, but want to re-inflate them when you hit the main roads which are (hopefully), clear or just wet tracks through snow (if it's slush, keep the tyre pressure low). I know it's a pain, but it'll help keep you safe.

Something that's not mentioned: Snow ...
As suggested, when the temperature is low, leave early to give yourself time to clear your car of ice / snow, and give you more time to get to wherever you're going.

However - the sheer number of cars I've seen driving about in the recent snow with just a quick wipe of the drivers side of the windscreen and side windows is rediculous. You really need to prety much clear ALL the snow off your car. Clear the windows all round for visability, but also clear the roof, otherwise once the car's all nice and warm, the bottom layer of snow on your roof melts forming a slippery layer - and then when you brake hard it ends up on your windscreen.

I'd also quickly sweep the snow off your bonnet, as if you hit clear roads and can get "up to speed" - the snow will start blowing off the bonnet, right into the windscreen.

DON'T use your windscreen wipers to clear the snow from your screen ... not only is it lazy, but you risk burning out your windscreen wiper motor or breaking the linkage to your wiper/s.

Coolant and windscreen wash:
Next, check your coolant and windscreen washer levels and if they are low, top your coolant up with pure antifreeze, and your washer bottle up with at least 500ml of pure windscreen wash before topping it up with water, then run your windscreen washers for about 30 seconds to get the new, stronger mix through your washer jet pipes (you'll smell the difference).

Snow chains:
Don't bother with snow chains. They do work, but what's the point if you are going to driving down a road which is clogged with snow, ice, and 100's of other cars in front of you, which are stuck and don't have snow chains.

Driving in ice / snow:
If you have to drive in ice or snow conditions and havn't done before, remember the simple rule - NO sudden movements ... don't accelerate or brake hard, don't turn quickly, and brake WAY before you need to. Oh, and don't go faster than you feel is safe (ignore other road users). You can gauge this by cruising along in the snow at about 20 MPH in 3rd gear, then on a straight bit of road, floor it and see how quickly the car wheel spins - if it starts to drift off, just take your foot off the accelerator (do NOT hit the brakes) and everything will be fine. If it spins quickly, then keep it at 20 MPH, if not you can probably hit 30 MPH and try the same test (this time in 4th gear). Follow these rules and you'll be fine in the snow ... however if you aree coming to a sharp bend / junction turn off / roundabout ... brake very early to come to nearly a complete stop, then turn slowly into the bend / junction / roundabout.

Other than the points I've mentioned above, everything else seems fine ;)
User avatar
Soul
Club Regular
Club Regular
 
Posts: 70
Joined: Sat Jan 16, 2010 7:34 pm
Location: Norwich
Owns: Non Hyundai Coupe
View: : Pics of My Car [?]
Move Poster Profile To The Other Side

Re: Avoid a driving disaster this winter

Postby jesters_apprentice » Tue Nov 30, 2010 2:22 pm

Probably a good time to bring this topic back up again. Also a mention for these:
http://www.autosock.co.uk/
...as pictured on my car here. No point waiting until we're already snowed in, if you think they might help you, get some now! Last year, our first snow was in December.
User avatar
jesters_apprentice
Club Regular
Club Regular
 
Posts: 591
Joined: Mon Aug 24, 2009 12:23 am
Location: Swanmore, Hampshire
Owns: Gen 3 Hyundai Coupe
View: : Pics of My Car [?]
Move Poster Profile To The Other Side

Re: Avoid a driving disaster this winter

Postby trismotteram » Sun Dec 18, 2011 2:31 am

I think you may want to watch this:

(Can someone edit and tell me how to embed Youtube videos please?)

On snow/ice ABS, TCS and ESP all DO HELP. You'd be best skipping the first few minutes as it's boring, but note it is a FWD X-Type. Top Gear tested an AWD X-Type a few times on snow and ice (with normal summer tyres) and it performed amazingly! Now the ESP system may vary from car to car, but these aids do help.
I've been told by so many people to turn TCS off on an icy hill, but I've tried with and without and it was going nowhere with it turned off. And before anyone thinks it's just me well I'm actually very good at driving on snow and ice! :p

My tips:
* Use a higher gear - I usually pull away in 2nd or 3rd and drive in the highest gear the car can handle without struggling.
* Drive slower - I've driven through Cheltenham town centre (never gets gritted for some reason) at 5mph with a queue building behind me. I'm not bothered if people are getting impatient - I'll drive as slow as I feel is safe, I won't be bullied into going faster!
* Leave massive stopping distances - braking is up to 10x longer on snow but leave as much as you can. I left an enormous gap once and the car in front pulled into a lay-by to let another car pass. Both randomly came to a complete stop but I couldn't, luckily I managed to 'ski' between them lol.
* Tyres - if you can afford winter tyres then great! Most of us can't though so we have other options like Autosock (great and much cheaper). For those of us without an Autosock then watch the tyre pressures - let them get a little lower than summer driving but not TOO low. Summer tyres start to become less effective below +7 degrees C as the rubber goes hard. Also the tread on summer tyres gets clogged with snow, it gets packed hard and essentially turns them into slicks. Winter tyres not only remain more supple at lower temperatures but they have special grooves that open as the wheel rotates and let the snow fall back out (giving you fresh tread). Autosocks have special fibres that stick to the snow (like a wooly glove does!) to give traction that is, in most cases, even better than a winter tyre. Be careful driving on Autosocks on tarmac as they will wear out very quickly.
* No sudden movements! Drive smooth and slow. If you need to steer around a corner let off the accelerator and turn the wheel very gradually. Any sharp turns will cause the car to slide.
* Don't use the brakes unless you have to - use the gears on the car to slow you down and aim to avoid collisions. Slamming on (even with ABS) will do very little.
* Clear the car! - the number of cars I see with only a small patch of snow cleared from the windscreen is shocking! I've seen cars with a foot of snow on the roof... that is going to fly off onto cars behind you and cause accidents for other people! Also make sure all windows and screens are completely cleared first!
* Know what to do in case of a skid! If you start to understeer then steer into it. By this I mean turn the steering wheel in the direction you are sliding, let the car come straight again, then try steering gradually again. More than likely if this is happening you're going too quickly and you won't have the time to get round the corner anyway but you want to regain as much control as possible.
* Pack supplies - I carry a duvet, spare clothes, waterproofs, hi-viz jacket, glow sticks, 2 cans of fuel, bottled water, breakfast bars and a shovel.
* Simply don't drive unless you desperately need to. It is as simple as that!

I know I've covered points from other people, but they're my basics. ;)
User avatar
trismotteram
Club Addict
Club Addict
 
Posts: 1892
Joined: Mon Oct 26, 2009 11:50 am
Location: Cheltenham
Owns: Non Hyundai Coupe
View: : Pics of My Car [?]
Move Poster Profile To The Other Side

Re: Avoid a driving disaster this winter

Postby jesters_apprentice » Wed Dec 21, 2011 12:01 am

trismotteram wrote:* Clear the car! - the number of cars I see with only a small patch of snow cleared from the windscreen is shocking! I've seen cars with a foot of snow on the roof... that is going to fly off onto cars behind you and cause accidents for other people! Also make sure all windows and screens are completely cleared first!

I think you can also get nicked by the plod for that one. I've got a snow brush in my car for that - came cheap from the place I got my autosocks from.

Another point - clear the snow from the windscreen by hand, not with your wipers. Stupid point but I've seen lazy folk knacker their wiper arms / linkages / motors that way.
User avatar
jesters_apprentice
Club Regular
Club Regular
 
Posts: 591
Joined: Mon Aug 24, 2009 12:23 am
Location: Swanmore, Hampshire
Owns: Gen 3 Hyundai Coupe
View: : Pics of My Car [?]
Move Poster Profile To The Other Side

Re: Avoid a driving disaster this winter

Postby trismotteram » Sun Dec 25, 2011 8:07 pm

jesters_apprentice wrote:
trismotteram wrote:* Clear the car! - the number of cars I see with only a small patch of snow cleared from the windscreen is shocking! I've seen cars with a foot of snow on the roof... that is going to fly off onto cars behind you and cause accidents for other people! Also make sure all windows and screens are completely cleared first!

I think you can also get nicked by the plod for that one. I've got a snow brush in my car for that - came cheap from the place I got my autosocks from.

Another point - clear the snow from the windscreen by hand, not with your wipers. Stupid point but I've seen lazy folk knacker their wiper arms / linkages / motors that way.



Yes it is an offence to drive with loads of snow on the roof, and not having cleared ALL the windows completely is another offence entirely.
User avatar
trismotteram
Club Addict
Club Addict
 
Posts: 1892
Joined: Mon Oct 26, 2009 11:50 am
Location: Cheltenham
Owns: Non Hyundai Coupe
View: : Pics of My Car [?]
Move Poster Profile To The Other Side

Re: Avoid a driving disaster this winter

Postby Jones84 » Wed Jan 16, 2013 11:07 pm

All brilliant advice and what everyone on the road should be following, then there wouldn't be half the accidents and breakdowns clogging up the already difficult to drive on roads!

does anyone have any tips on how to keep the doors on gen3 from freezing solid and the locks from freezing? im currently climbing through the boot and heating the car to then open the door!

any help greatly appreciated 8-)
Jones84
Casual Member
Casual Member
 
Posts: 10
Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2013 10:21 pm
Location: Middlesbrough
Owns: Gen 3 Hyundai Coupe
View: : Pics of My Car [?]
Move Poster Profile To The Other Side

Re: Avoid a driving disaster this winter

Postby VoodooRoller » Wed Jan 16, 2013 11:18 pm

Jones84 wrote:im currently climbing through the boot and heating the car to then open the door!

Haha I would pay to see that!

I just keep some de-icer in the house and spray it all around the door, it should then open once the ice on the seals melts. Just don't do what the gf did this morning and keep it inside the car :P
User avatar
VoodooRoller
Club Addict
Club Addict
 
Posts: 1081
Joined: Tue Dec 11, 2012 9:49 pm
Location: Colchester
Owns: SIII Hyundai Coupe
View: : Pics of My Car [?]
Move Poster Profile To The Other Side

Re: Avoid a driving disaster this winter

Postby Jones84 » Wed Jan 16, 2013 11:21 pm

good stuff mate.. yeah i was scared the boot slammed shut because my boot release not working at the moment ha ha!
Jones84
Casual Member
Casual Member
 
Posts: 10
Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2013 10:21 pm
Location: Middlesbrough
Owns: Gen 3 Hyundai Coupe
View: : Pics of My Car [?]
Move Poster Profile To The Other Side

Avoid a driving disaster this winter

Postby Chunkscoupe » Wed Jan 16, 2013 11:22 pm

I recently went on a skidding course that taught me about how to control a car when skidding

All I can say is don't worry stay in control and rock back and forth on your steering wheel until your car gets grip again it was a brilliant course worth while taking. I repeat rock gently on op your steering wheel left and right about a 3-4 inches left to right it works a treat and allows your wheels to regrip
User avatar
Chunkscoupe
VIP Member
VIP Member
 
Posts: 1594
Joined: Sat Apr 21, 2012 9:54 am
Location: Brighton
Owns: Gen 3 Hyundai Coupe
View: : Pics of My Car [?]
Move Poster Profile To The Other Side



Advertisement
Please Support The Club
 
Remove Ads With VIP
Donate using Paypal

Return to DIY Guides: General Car Maintenence & Misc

 


  • Related topics
    Replies
    Views
    Last post

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

Explore The Club
Join In
Support Our Sponsors
Meet Our Members View Members Cars