Nov 232018
 

Winter proofing tyresWinter is rapidly approaching and while the prospect of a white Christmas may sound appealing, icy conditions can be anything but ideal for many motorists.

At Warranty Direct, we’ve put together this season’s maintenance ‘to-do’ list, so your vehicle is always winter-ready.

Winter-Proof Your Tyres

Consider buying Winter tyres, which are made from rubber with a high silica content and a tread pattern designed to stay flexible in low temperatures. They provide better braking and handling performance on snow and ice.

It can make sense to buy winter tyres if you live in a remote area where conditions are likely to be worse for longer.

Elsewhere it may be harder to justify the cost in the UK, although your personal decision should be based on your own risk of bad weather, your confidence when driving and how much you have to drive in icy conditions.

If you decide not to buy winter tyres, you need to ensure you have a minimum tread depth of 4mm to get adequate traction. For every 10 degrees change in temperature, car tyres lose a pound of pressure. So check the pressure in all tyres at the outset of the winter season.

Make Sure You’re Kitted Out

 Should the worst happen and your vehicle breaks down in sub-zero conditions, you need to be equipped with a winter breakdown kit.

Stock essential items in your boot like a blanket, water, non-perishable snacks and a first aid kit – which is a must-have all year-round – but especially important in winter.

It’s also highly recommended you have at least one spare tyre and warning triangle on hand to help you in the event of a breakdown.

Keeping an in-car phone charger is also paramount as it will allow you to contact your breakdown cover provider if you find yourself in a roadside emergency.

Break the Ice

You must ensure all ice and snow is removed from the windscreen before you embark on any journey.

Many motorists mistakenly believe they only have to clear away enough frost to allow them partial vision. This is known as ‘porthole vision’ and could be subject to strict penalties.

Improve Visibility

It’s also vital you check the health of your wiper blades, as any squeaking might be down to damaged blades. While you’re attending to windshield issues, car safety experts suggest switching over to cold weather washer fluid, or any brand containing anti-freeze.

Check the Battery

Your vehicle’s battery loses 33% of its power when temperatures drop below freezing. So it’s wise to examine the battery and its charger so you know they’re performing optimally. If unsure, a trip to a reliable car mechanic will quickly reveal whether your battery is winter-ready.

At Warranty Direct, we have a Preferred Repairer Network which consists of over 3,000 specially selected garages that can undertake reliable repair work for our policy holders.

Consider Different Oil

Cold weather thickens engine oil, which forces car batteries to work overtime to get your car running. But you can give your battery a break and avoid possible engine issues by switching over to a thinner oil. However, be sure to check your owner’s manual for notes on compatibility first.

Of course, even after taking all of these precautions problems could still arise. To make sure you are protected in the event of unexpected vehicle failure, why not get a quote with Warranty Direct today?

Policies underwritten by Pinnacle Insurance plc. Arranged and administered by Warranty Direct. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Nov 192018
 

Even for confident and experienced drivers, fog can be one of the most daunting (and dangerous!) weather conditions to drive in. With limited visibility, it’s vital that you’re prepared in order to keep you and those you’re sharing the road with safe.

While standard rules of the road of course apply, these 10 tips will help you navigate even extremely dense fog to avoid an accident.

  1. Leave plenty of room between your car and the car in front of you. While it’s always important to keep a bit of distance, amid fog, it’s an absolute must. We recommend allowing 3-4 seconds between your car and the car in front of you, giving yourself extra time to brake.
  2. Look and listen. When visibility is low, use your sense of hearing in addition to sight. For example, at a foggy junction, roll down your window to listen to traffic. With this in mind, it’s also wise to turn down – or even turn off – your radio to allow you to focus your attention completely on the road.
  3. Turn your headlights on. This should go without saying. Make sure you turn on your headlights or your fog-lights if visibility is reduced to 100 metres. Also, bear in mind that automatic lights might not turn on in foggy conditions and you can’t rely on them all the time.
  4. Use windshield wipers and defrosters. Foggy conditions often go hand-in-hand with cold or damp conditions and a build-up of moisture and ice can create a glare, making it even more difficult to see. Use your defroster and windshield wipers to make your view of the road as clear as possible.
  5. Slow down! It can be extremely dangerous to drive the speed limit or faster when it’s foggy. Slow down to allow extra time to react to potentially hazardous situations. This will also help enable others on the road to drive more safely.
  6. Don’t use the taillights from the vehicle in front of you as a guide. This is an easy trap to fall in to but using the taillights from the vehicle in front of you could give you a false sense of security. It also acts as a distraction, limiting your awareness of the road and landscape in front of you.
  7. Be aware of the car behind you. Constantly check your mirrors so that you know how close the car behind you is and brake accordingly. If the car behind you is following too closely, resist the urge to speed off. Without being able to see very far ahead, you run the risk of causing an accident. Stick with a safe speed, even if the driver behind you doesn’t seem to want to.
  8. Expect delays. As is the case with other unfavourable weather conditions, fog could cause delays. Wait patiently and don’t attempt to ‘make up time’ by speeding.
  9. Minimise distractions. You should never attempt to multi-task when driving in foggy conditions. Put your phone away, keep conversations with passengers to a minimum, and give your full attention to the road in front of you.
  10. Don’t be afraid to pull over. Only you can determine how comfortable you feel and, if you don’t feel right about being on the road, pull over! But, make sure you pull as far off the road as possible and turn on your hazard lights. Remember that everyone on the road is struggling to see, so make sure you’re well out of the way and do your best to make sure other drivers know where you are. If possible, pull into a service station or car park.