Preparing Your Car for Your Christmas Travels
We’re quickly approaching the coldest time of the year, and while the festive season brings plenty of reason to celebrate, the cold weather and extreme conditions can make any car journey much more hazardous, even in familiar territory.
Whether you’re out shopping for presents or heading further afield to visit relatives, it’s a good idea to properly prepare your vehicle so you aren’t caught out in the cold this winter. That’s why we’re sharing some tips on how to plan for the adverse weather, from vital checks to make, to the supplies you might consider bringing along with you.
Supply of essentials
If your car sees regular use throughout the winter, or you’re expecting to be on the road for long stretches at a time, make sure you carry some emergency essentials with you on your travels. If something should happen and you find yourself stranded or in trouble on the roadside, you’ll be in much better shape with a hefty kit of equipment to hand.
Some things to keep with you include:
- Mobile phone – essential for contacting emergency or breakdown services. Make sure to keep it charged, and bring a spare battery pack and in-car charger to boot.
- Sturdy walking boots/wellington boots for thick snow and ice.
- First aid kit.
- Road atlas.
- Blanket and sleeping bag.
- Strong torch and batteries.
- Food – high energy snacks like chocolate or energy bars – and a flask of hot liquid.
- High vis vest and a high vis hazard sign.
- Warm winter clothes – gloves, scarf, coat, hat, socks; as well as waterproof clothing.
- Shovel, ice scraper and de-icer.
- Tow rope and jump-start cables.
It might seem like a lot, but it’s best to plan for all eventualities. From becoming stuck in deep snow overnight, to coming across another driver in need of assistance: if you’re carrying some key equipment with you, things are likely to go much smoother.
While planning for emergencies is prudent, you can be even more so by making sure that your car is roadworthy in the first place – which will hopefully prevent any trouble at all. Heading out into the snow and ice with worn out brakes or tyres is asking for trouble, so take some time out to have your car properly checked over before making any Christmas journeys. Check your car in for a service a few weeks in advance of your travels to make sure that if there is anything wrong, you have time to get it sorted beforehand.
We recently looked at the necessity for winter tyres here in the UK, and if you’re going to be out on the road often this Christmas then you should definitely consider installing a set. Winter tyres will give you much more control in the cold, and will help reduce stopping distances on ice. Winter tyres could be the difference between a close call and a collision, so if you havn’t already prepared a set, it is something you should think about before taking to the roads this Christmas.
As the driver, you also have some say in how safe your vehicle will be on the icy roads. Use common sense and drive with caution, even if you’re taking on roads you’ve been driving down for years. Winter conditions are unpredictable, and staying careful and alert will help keep you safe whether you’re on the motorway or a narrow back road in the country. It’s not only your safety you have to worry about; careless driving puts your passengers and all other road users at risk.
The cold has a great effect on your battery, and flat batteries are a leading cause of breakdowns in the winter. Batteries over five years old may not be the ideal component to face the falling temperatures, so think about having it examined and replaced before your travels. If you’re only planning one big journey this Christmas, keeping your car idle for weeks at a time, for example, you can keep your battery charged periodically with a charger or maintainer. This should prevent the nasty surprise of failing to start your car after getting the whole family ready on a dark winter morning, letting you start your journey instantly instead of putting up with a frustrating, preventable delay.
Oaks Services are a leading provider of car repairs, MOTs and services throughout the South East. We can help you prepare your car for the rough winter conditions, with expert engineers on hand to service your vehicle and make any repairs or replacements necessary. To make sure you have a safe, pleasant Christmas on the roads this year, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today. Our friendly team are always happy to help.