Advice for driving in winter from Allstar

In our modern, centrally-heated lives it’s easy to forget that British winter weather can be so severe that vehicles don’t work properly.

Winter causes so many accidents, breakdowns and traumas that we’re offering some tips in advance of the bad weather.

Vehicle experts from Allstar’s partner organisation, the AA, say that the boring but necessary jobs that we often neglect become much more important in winter. This means checking all the lights work, wiper blades aren’t worn out, tyres are in good condition and fluid levels are correct. This is also the time to add anti-freeze, check battery fluid levels and connections, and add de-icer to screenwash.

If you’re too busy or allergic to the thought of opening the bonnet, now’s a good time to have a garage give the car a once-over. You can use your Allstar fuel card to pay for a check at one of our service, maintenance and repair centres, located nationwide. Find out more here.

As mentioned good condition tyres are vital for staying safe in winter weather. You can ensure your fleet is covered by fitting cold weather tyres. Our partners, ATS Euromaster have a number of cold weather tyres and Cross Climate tyres specific for winter weather.

Once the vehicles are sorted, it’s up to drivers to adapt to the conditions. The Driving Standards Agency’s ‘Driving Skills Manual’ says: “The biggest danger to any driver is being unable to see properly.”

For example, before setting out on a cold day use a scraper or de-icer to remove ice from windows. Don’t use hot water from a kettle, it may crack your windscreen. And don’t drive with a small hole rubbed through the windscreen ice. As the Highway Code says, it’s illegal to drive with poor visibility.

In reduced visibility, like heavy rain, fog or snow, use your lights. And if the road surface becomes slippery, as in rain or snow, allow more time to brake and accelerate. The experts at the DSA say: “Decide what’s a safe speed for the conditions and stick to it. Don’t let other drivers push you into driving faster.”

Just take it easy and allow more time for journeys. The AA suggests we should all “put safety before punctuality during bad weather”.

And here are five tips for winter motoring that you may NOT have heard already:

* Don’t switch on anything, like stereo, heater or lights, until the engine is running, Make things easier for the battery by similarly switching off everything before stopping the engine.

* If your vehicle has air conditioning it won’t get used during winter. So run it for ten minutes once a month to keep oil in the system distributed and stop seals drying out.

* In freezing conditions, try to leave the car in gear and the handbrake off overnight. This will avoid problems with the handbrake freezing in the 'on' position.

* Clean the edge of your wiper blades with a tissue dipped in screenwash additive to help stop smearing and prolong their life.

 * And beware the drivers who HAVEN’T done their winter checks. See here for more information.

Besides carrying an ice scraper and de-icer, it's worth carrying the following items:

  1. Torch
  2. First-aid kit
  3. Tow rope
  4. Blankets
  5. Warm coat
  6. Boots
  7. Jump leads
  8. Snow shovel
  9. Warning triangle
  10. Water-repellent spray

For more information and advice on driving in winter from the AA, please visit here