Game of Thrones may be over, but winter is still coming to the UK. That means that it’s time for you to start preparing your car for wetter roads and colder days. While the UK may not see the large snowfalls that other areas normally do, it’s better to be safe than sorry on the road. You don’t want to get stuck out in cold weather, no matter how much or how little snow is on the ground.
What kind of precautions can you take then to drive more safely during the UK winter? Regardless of your driving style, taking the following tips to heart will keep you on the straight and narrow this season.
Read up on the rules
Do you feel like you have a handle on the rules of the road in your area? You may be right, but it’ll still serve you well to give them another look-over. Your county may have specific legislation or tips in place designed to keep you safer on winter roadways.
For example, more counties will outline best driving practises for the type of weather that they see. Others will provide you with a guide to what winter tyres should do best on the local roads and are most effective for your type of car.
Not only that, but reading through the rules of the road will keep you from accidentally violating the law this winter. It turns out that the weather isn’t the only thing you need to look out for!
Slow your speed
Once you’ve wrapped up your reading, you may want to head out onto the road. When you do, be sure to go slowly. The wetter the roadways are, the more likely you are to lose traction as you drive.
This is especially the case when driving in the rain and turning corners. Tyre wear is unavoidable, but you can lessen its impact by taking turns as a slower rate than you normally would. This way, you’ll have more control over your vehicle and be able to avoid sliding.
Change your tyres
You’ll have even more luck staying safe on the road once you’ve installed winter tyres onto your car. As soon as the temperature starts to drop, trade out your low-tread summer tyres for ones that will maintain their grip on the road, even on the rainiest of days.
Winter tyres have more than just deeper tread designed to get you through the colder months of the year. They also come equipped with sipes. Sipes, like tread, give your tyres more surface area. They add an edge to your tyre that’ll help you transition from dry pavement to pavement that’s been drenched in slush or ice.
Winter tyres don’t stay effective indefinitely though. Before you put your tyres on this year, make sure that they’re up to snuff. Your tread needs to be no shallower than 4mm (check out UK tyre laws). If you don’t want to take the time to measure the tread with traditional tools, you can stick a pound coin into the tread. Your coin should, at a minimum, sink in past Elizabeth’s eyes. If it doesn’t, you need to get your tyres replaced.
Check your tyre pressure
You should also frequently check the pressure in your tyres during the colder months of the year. When the temperature fluctuates, the firmness of your tyres will also change. As the air gets colder, the air molecules inside your tyres will shrink, making the tyres less able to grip the road. Likewise, as the temperature warms back up, the air in your tyres will expand.
How can you keep up with these changes? It takes time and effort, but checking your tyre pressure will keep you safer in the long run. Each tyre’s manufacturer will its ideal pressure on the inside, towards your hub cap. Check that pressure and fill your tyres up – or let air out – accordingly before you hit the road.
Check your brakes
Regardless of the state of your tyres, you may have more difficulty braking during the winter. This could be because the cold has gotten the inner workings of your car. Alternatively, your brake pads may have worn down.
As winter approaches, you’re going to need to test your brakes to see if they’ll treat you well in the colder months. Look at your brake pads through your wheel’s spokes. The pad should, when compressed, come to rest against your metal rotar. You need to have at least 7mm of width to keep you safe. If it has less, you need to take your car to a garage.
If you hear a load, crunching noise when you press the brakes, your car is telling you that your pads have completely worn down. Don’t delay a pad replacement, especially in the winter time.
Driving during a UK winter is a challenge. Road safety becomes more difficult to maintain for folks with all sorts of driving styles. Do what you can, then, to drive slowly and keep a watchful eye on the weather. Your car and passengers will thank you for your efforts.