Tips on winter driving

If you’re planning a self drive holiday, don’t leave your winter checks until it’s too late and you experience a problem.

The best way is to book your car in for a service and have everything checked by a professional.

A few obvious things to check:
– The age of your car battery – have it tested if unsure
– Tyres: if they are worn replace them and don’t forget a spare
– Add antifreeze to windscreen wash
– Windscreen wipers – check for wear and splits
– Hoses and belts – for cracks and wear
– Car heater and rear screen heater working
– Headlights: Check alignment (also check indicators/turn signals)

Pack some items for comfort – and survival:– Change of clothes and comfortable footwear
-Sleeping bag/duvet/blanket
– Flask of hot drink, food and water
– Waterproof poncho/rain gear/boots
– Hat, scarf, gloves
– Thermal heat packs (chemical gel type) for hands and feet

A good idea to carry:– Mobile phone and charger (charger independent of car battery)
– Scraper to clear screen, spray de-icer, and brush to clear snow off car
– Keep a small can of lock de-icer with you
– Torch or torch/radio combo (hand-chargeable type preferably)
– Dry cloths to clean and dry inside of windscreen/windows/mirrors
– First-Aid kit
– Jumper cables
– Reflective jacket and warning triangles
– Shovel, tow rope and tools
– Even with sat-nav, carry a compass and updated road map
– Old sacks, rugs, or blankets (for tyre traction in case stuck in snow/mud)

A few more tips:
– If you have trouble driving at night or in fog consider night-driving glasses
– Don’t drive in wet, snow-covered, or icy boots as they could slip off pedals
– Leave extra time for your journey and take your time
– Adjust speed to the road and weather conditions
– Clean snow or mud off your headlights/lights and indicators
– Keep safe distance from the car in front.
– Clear windows properly (not just a hole to peep through). This is law!
– Clear snow off the car roof (it could fall and obscure your view)
– Be wary of leaving your car to warm up and defrost as car may be stolen!
– Give car a good wax and repair paint chips before winter to protect paint
– Consider rust proofing to protect against salt on the roads
– Check weather forecast and road reports before setting out
– If driving in mountains check if chains are required
– If driving abroad check local laws (emergency equipment to carry)
– If you don’t know how to change a tyre, do a practice run at home

Remember to pack your cheap holiday insurance!
Don’t forget to pack your cheap holiday insurance, you can get an instant quote and immediate cover by going online to 24/7 travel insurance. A 3-day break in Europe will cost you only £4.14*

* Premium £4.14 includes Insurance Premium Tax based on an adult aged under 55 taking out a “Standard” Single Trip 24/7 travel insurance policy for 3-days in Europe excluding personal possessions cover and purchased within 14 days of departure date. Cover details and prices are correct at time of going to press (December 2010) and are subject to change.