The weather is well and truly changing for winter now, with bitter temperatures and even more rain. Hydroplaning also becomes more common; the water in front of your tires builds up faster than your car can push it out of the way, resulting in the water pressure causing your car to rise up and slide (see diagram to the right for a more visual explanation). So here are our tips to take into account that could save you while driving in wet conditions!
Drive Slowly and Carefully:
Use a light touch when you steer and brake, and drive slowly and carefully to prevent skids. Don’t brake hard or lock the wheel.
Keep Your Tires Safe:
Go to your local petrol station and get your tires inflated to the correct pressure. Maintain a good tire tread of at least 3mm and replace tires if needed.
Use Common Sense:
Slow down when roads are wet and keep away from puddles if possible. Driving in the tire tracks left by the vehicle in front of you will also help.
If You’re Skidding:
Remain calm and ease your foot off the accelerator and carefully steer the car in your intended direction. Be prepared to continue steering until the front of your vehicle is driving straight again. If your car has an anti-lock braking system (ABS) and you find yourself skidding, brake firmly as you steer into the skid.
Whether you’re a learner driver, recently passed or have years of experience on the road, EZPass’s Winter Car Checklist is an essential for every driver to keep safe on the road! Please share with your friends and family!
- Tyres – Check your tyre pressure as well as the tread – each tyre should have at least 3mm of tread for the winter. You may want to consider winter or snow tyres also, especially considering the UK’s recent adverse winter weather.
- Antifreeze – Make sure your coolant is topped up with the right type and concentration of antifreeze. Your garage will be able to advise you on this.
- Oil – Your oil levels should be checked regularly and especially so in Winter – remember not to check top up your oil when you car is warm, wait till your engine is cool.
- Battery – Old batteries (more than 5 years old) are more likely to cause a winter breakdown. Check and charge your battery or replace it to avoid your car not starting on a cold morning.
- Fuel – In case of delays, always make sure you have at least a quarter-half of a tank of fuel in case of delays.
- Screen wash – Keep your screen wash topped up with a mix of anti-freeze screen wash to stop your windscreen from freezing.
- Wiper blades – Check your wiper blades for defect, cracks and make sure they clear you windscreen effectively, if not replace them ASAP.
- Lights – Check your all lights are working and are clean for maximum visibility for both you and other road users. It’s a good idea to carry spare bulbs with you also, just in case.
It’s also a good idea to prepare an emergency winter kit to keep in your boot in case of a traffic/road emergency:
- Blanket or sleeping bag
- Warm clothing
- Thick flat pack cardboard boxes to help gain traction on ice or snow
- Salt (or cat litter) to clear snow
- Ice scraper (not your bank card!) or de-icer
- A rechargeable torch
- Tow rope
- Jump leads
- Bottled water
- Long lasting food or snacks
- Extra screen wash
- Reflective jackets
As a general rule, before setting out on any car journey, it’s a good idea to also have the following:
- Fully charged mobile phone
- Personal Medication
- Warning triangle
- Car Jack
- Road Atlas
- Breakdown membership phone number
- First aid kit
With winter soon approaching and the cold weather already setting in, you may find your car wont start due to a cold or dead battery so here’s a quick guide on how to jump start your car in an emergency . If you are in a situation where you have a flat battery, you may have to jump start your car. This can be done by yourself, but it is advisable to find someone else to help, as it can be dangerous.
- Turn off all electrical equipment within you car (including fans, heaters, lights, wipers, etc, as they will all consume power from the battery).
- Select 2nd gear and depress the clutch the entire way down.
- Start the car by turning the keys as you usually would.
- Push the car to an ideal speed of around 5 – 10 mph.
- When the maximum speed has been reached by those pushing the car, release the clutch at a similar speed as you would when normally releasing the clutch in 2nd gear whilst driving.
- As the engine fires up, depress the clutch and apply the accelerator slightly to enable the alternator to charge the battery.
As long as you take the precautions and make yourself aware of what is going on around you at the time, this may help you in a time of need!
(Please note that this technique does not work on an automatic… or a toy car.)
As a new driver, car insurance is right up at the top of the list of financial burdens, so it will make sense to save money where you can by choosing the correct type of insurance for yourself. Finding the right car insurance for yourself can take a lot of time and effort, but it pays off because of the saving that you’ll make in the end!
Don’t end up like these guys. Get the right insurance!
This type of insurance is the minimum required for driving legally on public roads and only covers the costs of any damage to another vehicle caused by yourself (not your own vehicle). Being the minimal cover, it’s easy to think that it’d be the cheapest, however, that’s not the case any more as insurance companies believe that drivers who opt for this cover are less likely to care about their car and as a result are likely to drive more recklessly.
Third Party Fire and Theft
This insurance is the same as third party, but as the name suggests, it also covers your vehicle if it is stolen or set on fire.
‘Fully Comp’ covers your own car against damages that occur from an accident. The more expensive your car is, the more important it is to have this type of car insurance and if your car is worth more than £5000 you must use this coverage by law. Comprehensive insurance will also usually cover you to drive others cars.
New learner driver proposals have been brought about in a bid to tackle the number of road traffic accidents causing serious injury or death involving young people in the UK.
As published by the BBC, such proposals include:
- A one-year ‘learner stage’ starting at age of 17, during which drivers would have to total at least 100 hours of daytime and 20 hours of night-time practice under supervision.
- Learners can then take their test at 18 and, if they pass, will get a probationary licence and have to display a green “P” plate.
- During this stage, drivers will face the curfew and all those under 30 will be banned from carrying any passengers also under 30.
- Other proposals under consideration for young drivers are a ban on all mobile phone use, including hands-free phones, and a lower alcohol limit.
- After the 12-month probationary period, drivers will automatically graduate to a full licence and unrestricted driving.
Here at EZPass we fully support more comprehensive learning including that of motorway, night time and bad weather driving. The curfew applying to those under the age of 30 however has come under scrutiny as it is maturity, experience and attitude, not age that affects driving. EZPass welcome changes that will further improve driving skills before taking the practical test and look forward to seeing the final proposals. And of course we will keep you up-to-date with any news here on the EZPass blog!