with Peter Turner, head of quality, safety, health and environment (QSHE)
Cold weather can play havoc with cars. Flat batteries are the main cause (32%), followed by engines turning over but not starting (15%). In fact motorists are 50% more likely to breakdown in January, February and March when temperatures are often colder, than any other month of the year.
Our advice to our people and customers during freezing or adverse weather conditions is:
- Consider alternative travel plans, such as delaying your journey if possible.
- Refer to local authority and council websites for news of road conditions, accidents and road closures. Stick to main roads as much as possible. The Met Office is always a great source to keep up to date on weather and road conditions.
- Only set out if your journey is absolutely necessary, and then follow guidance in the media (radio, TV, social media, etc).
- If you must travel, we recommend ensuring you have a few essential items with you:
- Jump leads
- Food Flask of hot drink
- Warm clothing and blankets
- Sunglasses (for winter glare from the low sun)
- Fully-charged mobile phone and charger with a car adapter
- If you’re on a longer trip also consider taking essential medications.
- Adapt your driving style to the conditions:
- Start off in a higher gear than normal (e.g. 2nd) to reduce wheelspin.
- Reduce your speed.
- Be smooth and gentle with steering and brakes.
- Allow much longer breaking distances than you would normally (especially when approaching junctions).
- Switch on your headlights as snow or rain falls.
- Be alert for ice – when the steering feels “light” to the touch – and bear in mind it could lie below freshly fallen snow.
- Check anti-freeze levels and carry de-icer in case the locks freeze.
- If warming your car up don’t leave it unattended with the keys in the ignition. Many cars are stolen this way by opportunist thieves each year.
- Check tyre, battery and wiper blade condition.
- Make sure the front and rear lights are fully functioning and clear, as well as your fog lights.
- Double check oil, fuel and windscreen washer levels before setting off.
- Take your breakdown telephone help-line number and mobile phone with you and tell someone when you expect to arrive at your destination.
- Make sure that all letters and numbers on your number plate are clearly visible at all times as it’s illegal for your registration plate to be unreadable.
Read our Winter Readiness guide here for more helpful tips for your business and people to weather the winter.