This year’s historically mild autumn is expected to lead to a colder than average 2014/15 winter, with significant snowfall likely. And, as always, we here at ChipsAway encourage anyone driving during the winter period to ensure they, and their vehicle, are fully prepared.
Snow, hail and ice, as well as heavy rain, flooding and high winds can cause a range of problems, and we’ve compiled a list of our top 5 winter driving hazards to look out for:
Black ice – where a transparent coating of ice sits on the surface of a road – has long been considered as a one of the most dangerous winter hazards, both for pedestrians and drivers. The unpredictability of black ice is what makes it so hazardous, but it is most prevalent on bridges, below overpasses and in areas surrounded by trees. Black ice also makes winter a particularly notorious season for curb-related damage to alloy wheels – which thankfully is often fairly easy to repair.
Notably, winter road salt, which plays a central role in combating icy roads and increasing overall winter road safety, isn’t always the kindest on your car. Constant exposure to winter road salt increases the risk of corrosive damage to plastic bumpers, exterior trim and rubber seals (and in extreme cases can lead to people having to repair their windscreen!). Take care of your paintwork and underside of your car throughout winter while grit’s on the road
Car batteries get a rough time of it in the winter months. Not only do they lose their ability to recharge as quickly and provide current as efficiently in low temperatures, but it’s also the time of year when they’re under the most strain, with wipers, headlights, blowers and heated seats all used more frequently.
This makes battery failure one of the most common winter driving hazards, particularly when the temperature drops below freezing. Fortunately there has been an influx in the variety of good value intelligent car battery chargers on the market in recent years, which come highly recommended in keeping your car battery topped up during the colder winter months.
Stopping distances are affected significantly in wet weather and the risk of bumps and shunts is much higher, as is the potential for panel dents, or scuffs and scratches to your car’s bumpers or paintwork.
Standing water is a common winter driving hazard, particularly or prolonged periods of rain. Be sure to keep an eye out for unexpectedly deep bodies of water – particularly in low points or dips – to avoid hydroplaning, which happens when a layer of water sits between the wheels of your car and the road. This can lead to loss of traction, and potentially temporary loss of control of your vehicle.
Cold air is known to take its toll on tyre pressure: for every 5°C that the weather drops, a tyre will lose 1-2 psi of air pressure. This makes it even more important to keep an eye on the air pressure of your tyres during winter, preferably with a check at least once per month.
It’s also important not to be tempted to reduce tyre pressure to get more grip, as it’s likely to have the opposite effect.
Although it almost goes without saying, it’s wise to keep a closer eye on other drivers during the winter months. A general lack of experience driving in cold weather conditions makes this doubly true in the UK, where an inch of snow still causes a flurry of a news stories!
Stay safe this winter and look out for our top 5 winter driving hazards. And if you’re interested in finding out more about driving safely during the winter period, the Highways Agency has recently put together a series of guides to driving in severe weather.
And if your car’s paintwork, panels or alloy wheels do fall foul of the weather this winter, we’re always happy to help. Just call us now on 0800 145 5118 or use the form on the right for a free, no obligation quote!
Image Credit; http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:2005_winter_road_full_beam.jpg