Winter Is Coming

Few people will relish the thought of the clocks going back, other than the extra hour you get in bed. Thoughts of blue skies and the summer months become a distant memory and make way for the onset of winter. That also means driving in the dusk or dark and cold, damp or snowy conditions.

As we all start to hope for a dry night for Halloween, Bonfire Night or even a White Christmas, the change in conditions will also signal an increase of more vehicle collisions and breakdowns. According to one insurer there’s a 30% rise in the month of November in vehicle collisions alone.

So, here at Birch Service Centre we’re sharing our top tips on essential maintenance to get your vehicle winter ready:

  • Look out – check your windscreen fluid. Whether you’re driving at day break, dusk or in the dark, visibility is key. At this time of year light can change rapidly: one minute you might need sunglasses, the next it’s dark. One thing that can have an impact on how well you see is how clean your car’s glass is. Car windows, particularly windscreens, get dirty quickly this time of year, so it’s vital that you have sufficient levels of windscreen fluid to keep them clean
  • Check your lights – turn your headlamps on well before dusk so that other drivers can see you clearly. At this time of year many drivers start their journey before dusk but forget to switch them on when it becomes darker. The Institute for Advanced Motorists suggests that you: “Do a daily walk around of your car to check all lights are working. Use a wall or garage door to check the rear lights if you are on your own. Changing a bulb on a modern car is often a garage-only job. Get it done before the police stop you and issue a ticket or repair notice.”
  • Slow down– at this time of year due to changing driving conditions, poor light, more rain, colder air temperatures mean that reaction times and stopping distances can be longer. For example, reaction times and stopping distances in the rain can double: 20mph goes from 12 meters to 24 meters to come to a full stop. Therefore, it’s essential that your brake pads are working properly, your tyres are fully pumped up and tread depth is more than 3mm, the minimum legal requirement is 1.6mm.
  • Keep up with vehicle servicing – obvious I know, but by keeping up with servicing now will help avoid a costly breakdown over the coming months.
By getting your car ready for winter and using some simple tips to drive safely, you can safely drive, prepare your car and yourself for the darker and colder days ahead.