From driving in the dark to unpredictable weather, driving in winter can be a hazardous experience. Brake, the road safety charity, recommends doing these checks now to help you stay safe.
Check that your wipers clean your windscreen without smearing, so that your vision is clear in rain and snow. Dirt and grime can scatter light and cause glare, so a clean windscreen is vital for driving at night.
Your car’s lights are essential for driving at night or in gloomy weather. Check your headlights, side lights, fog lights and brake lights are working and clean so that they are clear to see.
Your grip on the road becomes even more important in winter, so make sure that your tyres are inflated to their recommended pressure (check inside your car door or fuel flap for this). Also make sure that they are not too worn – your tread depth should be at least 3mm to be safe in wet weather.
To prevent your radiator coolant and screen wash from freezing up in cold weather, add some antifreeze to it, which will lower its freezing temperature.
Car batteries are more likely to die in winter, so if you’ve been having any trouble with yours, or it’s more than five years old, it’s a good idea to get it replaced now, rather than risk being stuck out in the cold.
Ice scraper and de-icer
It is essential that you completely clear ice, snow and condensation from your windscreen and all your windows before setting off – so make sure that you factor in this time when planning your journey. Clear any snow off your roof too, otherwise it can fall onto your windscreen or get blown onto the car behind you.
Winter driving kit
In case you do break down or get stuck in bad weather, it’s a good idea to have a winter driving kit prepared. This could include a torch, a blanket, snacks and water, a first aid kit, a warning triangle and a high-vis vest. Also, make sure that your phone is fully charged before you leave the house, bringing a charging bank or an in-car charging cable for back-up.
Take care of yourself
It’s not only your car that needs to be in top condition. As the driver, you need to make sure that your vision and hearing are tip-top too.
Contact lenses are the perfect solution for winter months. Look out for the new transition lenses, which are coming to Specsavers soon. The first-of-its-kind contact lens has TransitionsTM Light Intelligent TechnologyTM2, which seamlessly adapts to changing light. So there will be no more squinting against the winter sun, plus they reduce halos and starbursts at night.
If you prefer glasses, make sure that your lenses have an anti-reflective coating. This helps with night driving as they minimise unwanted reflections. Specsavers’ UltraClear SuperClean lenses have an enhanced anti-reflection treatment and are also scratch, smudge and even dust-resistant, which is especially helpful when you’re driving.
And don’t forget, you need to be able to hear car horns and warnings from other drivers or pedestrians clearly. To check that your hearing is up to scratch, try taking Specsavers’ quick online hearing test by clicking here.