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Take care of your car this winter

Winter is the harshest of seasons. It can take a great toll on our health, our homes and our cars. It’s a season of great unpredictability, with the weather liable to turn on a dime and transform previously easy roads into treacherous gauntlets ridden with ice, snow, heavy rain and fog.

When it’s wet, stopping distance is often doubled and when it’s icy, it can be five or six times even that! Vision is also a problem, with shorter days and longer nights, not to mention the fog, snow and hail. Simply put, driving in bad winter weather can be incredibly dangerous and it can take a great toll of your car. So, how should you be taking care of your car (and yourself) this season?

Know when to leave it be – Perhaps the most important thing to know is when to consider calling it quits and leaving the car in the garage. If the weather is severe and your car is not equipped to handle it then you should always leave it at home and find alternative means of transport. If the weather is particularly bad, meanwhile, you might even want to consider sorted out other arrangements (working from home, for example).

Check your warranty and insurance – Before you head out into the unforgiving winter chill, check your car warranty and plan accordingly. You should also check that your insurance covers you in the event you get stuck in the snow, as some policies will see this as negligence and won’t pay up.

Be prepared – Keep your car regularly washed and cleaned and make sure it is waxed and sealed. A decent quality sealant should see you through even the harshest of winters, but not that wax application is not as effective in low temperatures. Your interiors also require some preparation for the cold, particularly if they are leather or vinyl. You should also invest in a winter driving kit that includes torches, blankets and warm clothes, just in case the worst should happen. A good stock of anti-freeze should also be available as well as de-icers and scrapers for your windscreen.

Cautious driving

Winter driving can be daunting at the best of times but in particularly harsh weather, several precautionary steps should always be taken:-

Slow down – If the weather is an issue, always take it slowly.

Maintain space – The gap between your car and the car in front should be significantly longer in bad winter weather.

Remain vigilant – Hazards, pedestrians and other drivers will be harder to spot, so keep that in mind.

Use your lights – Even during the day, use your front and rear lights in dense snow and fog.

Stay calm – This shouldn’t need to be said, but it’s perhaps the most important point to be made.