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Driving in the Winter months can be dangerous because of extreme weather conditions causing wet and slippery roads that can change quickly over a short period of time. When preparing to drive during Winter months preparation is one of the most important tips for any driver; making sure the route being taken is well planned out and known by somebody not taking the journey who can check the journey has been completed are both important steps in the Winter.

Maintenance

As the Winter months approach drivers should ensure their vehicles are in the best operating condition available; ensuring all regular checks are completed can help ensure a vehicle does not have problems leading to the vehicle getting stuck in snowy or icey conditions. Regular checks should be undertaken throughout the Winter to ensure the fluids, such as oil and coolant are at the required levels; to ensure visibility is maintained in the Winter windshield washer fluid should include a non freezing mixture making sure a driver can maintain visibility at all times. Windshield wipers should also be kept in good condition and replaced if they are failing to keep a windshield clear of dirt and debris as the amount of snow and rain in Winter months tends to be higher than at other times of the year.

Running the Engine

During Winter months their are periods of time when drivers wish to run their engine to get it warm and make sure heat is moving around the vehicle. Leaving a car idling can be dangerous when completed in an enclosed area, such as a garage; when warming up a car a driver should always ensure the area is well ventilated to avoid any risk of personal injury. It is also important that if a vehicle becomes stuck or stranded the engine should only be run enough to keep the occupants warm; before running the engine the exhaust pipe of the vehicle should be checked to ensure it is not blocked.

Driving

When all preparations have been completed the change in skills required for Winter driving can be difficult for some drivers to adapt to. In snow or ice drivers must alter their driving habits to the conditions including driving at a slower speed than most drivers usually operate their vehicles at; leaving a larger gap between vehicles than normal is also important because slippery conditions can make stopping difficult. If snow is a problem a vehicle should be started in a higher gear than normal and operated in as high a gear as possible to maintain as much traction as possible at all times. If a skid does occur the driver should attempt to regain control by steering into a skid; driving a vehicle with anti-lock brakes the driver should stamp on the brakes when required and pump brakes that are not anti-lock to come to a safe stop.

Preparation

In Winter months all vehicles should be equipped with blankets, food, water and warm clothing in case the vehicle becomes stuck and the occupants stranded. Keeping a fully charged cell phone in the vehicle can ensure help arrives promptly for stranded vehicles. If a vehicle does skid and become stranded any occupant getting out should move a safe distance away from the vehicle in case another vehicle also fails to handle the Winter conditions.

snow-covered-car

Sarah works for Aor Insurance in Ireland running their social media and blogs.