Minimise your risk of having an icy road accident

Winter weather driving'For feature for the Courier Motors
Winter weather driving'For feature for the Courier Motors

Since my last column the weather has changed and it is clear that winter is upon us.

As we go into the winter months I want to take this opportunity to remind you to prepare your vehicle for the months ahead.

At this time of year we see a rise in traffic accidents due to a mixture of bad weather and icy roads.

It is essential to try and minimise your risk of having an accident and part of this is to make sure that you keep your vehicle well maintained.

With this in mind please see the below advice which will help ensure that your car is ready for winter.

l Car battery – cold, damp weather can play havoc on batteries as vehicle electrical systems have to work a lot harder at this time of year. We recommend checking and if needs be charging your battery at least once a week during the winter months, particularly if your vehicle is more than three years old.

l Antifreeze – ensure that coolant is between the minimum and maximum markers. It is also important that there is sufficient anti-freeze in the coolant. If you’re uncertain, have a look at your handbook or get a local garage to look. Antifreeze is cheap but damage to your engine is expensive to put right.

l Tyres – check tyre condition to see if there is adequate tread. Look for damage such as splits or bulges and check the pressure. If you live in an area particularly at risk of snow consider purchasing winter tyres or snow socks which give you better traction and control.

l Windscreen – make sure you have enough screen wash and that the concentration is suitable for cold weather. Not all screen wash is the same so you should be looking for protection down to -10.

l Wiper blades – check wiper blades for damage and replace if necessary. When wiper blades become frozen to glass it is very easy to damage them when freeing them up.

l Lights – regularly wipe your lights and check the bulbs so that you can be confident other road users can see you.

l Fuel – keep at least a quarter of a tank of fuel in case of unexpected delay.

l Locks and door seals – stop doors freezing shut with a thin coat of polish or Vaseline on rubber door seals. A squirt of water dispersant (WD40) in locks will help stop them freezing.

These helpful tips should help you stay safe when using the district’s roads this winter. It also keeps your vehicle legal on the road.

By Inspector David Shaw

Valley Neighbourhood Police team