Driving on the roads can be tricky at the best of times, but the winter months can add to this with shorter daylight hours, poorer driving conditions, busy roads, distracted drivers, and even a few pedestrians you need to watch out for. To help you avoid some of the more common motoring problems and be more prepared as bad weather hits, we’ve put together a few handy hints to help you and your family. Many of these may come as second nature to you, but it might be handy to share with your family.
Winter essentials for your car
It’s important to give your car a regular check and with busy lives, it’s something that we can all easily forget.
• Check your oil levels and battery, and make sure that your lights are in good working condition.
• Don’t get caught out by the early morning and late night frost. Buy yourself a new supply of de-icer and keep it in your glove compartment along with an ice scraper, it’s sensible to keep a back-up supply in the boot as well. Remember, never pour boiling water onto your windscreen as it can crack the glass.
• It’s really important to check your tyres to ensure you’ve got all the grip you need. A simple way to test this is by using a 20 pence coin. Just insert the coin into the main tread grooves of your tyres. If the coin’s outer band is no longer visible then your tread is above the legal limit. Look online for more safety guidance and get your tyres checked by a professional if you’re unsure.
• Check your wiper blades for wear and tear and don’t forget that you’ll also need a higher concentration of screen wash in winter to compensate for the colder temperatures. Make sure to check your screen wash level regularly too, as you’ll be using it a lot more than in the summer!
• Think about packing an emergency kit for your car, especially if you’re going on a long journey. Possible items could include a shovel, high-visibility vest, reflective warning sign, torch, blanket, jump leads, extra warm clothing, first aid kit and don’t forget some snacks or chocolate!
Many garages offer winter checks for your car, so if in doubt about what you should check, seek some help.
Prepare for your journey
• If you can, plan your journey in advance and check for any roadworks or closures, and updates on the weather forecast. With shorter daylight hours, there’s greater potential for delays and accidents, so also remember to allow extra time for each journey.
• Driving in these conditions can be very tiring and some road accidents are caused by driver tiredness, so make sure that you take plenty of rest breaks and if possible share the driving with someone else.
• Finally, if you are carrying personal possessions in the car, try and keep them out of sight in the boot. This will become increasingly important as we approach the festive season, with presents and gifts carried in the car.
Check your breakdown cover
No one wants to breakdown at any time of the year, but they are commonplace in the winter months, so it will be worth checking if you have breakdown cover and, if you do, what level of cover you have.
Good time to check if you are fully covered with your car insurance or have an individual breakdown policy?
Car Insurance just for the Military family
Forces Mutual car insurance isn’t for everyone. If you look on price comparison websites, you won’t find us. Why? Because our car insurance is exclusively for Military personnel and their families.
Car insurance renewal not due?
No worries. You can switch to us anytime as we pay the cancellation fee that might be charged by your current insurer, up to £125.
You can also purchase Breakdown cover for your vehicle with optional European cover from Forces Mutual.
For more information about our car insurance and breakdown cover, click here or call 0151 363 5290.
Forces Mutual car insurance is provided by Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance plc.
Forces Mutual Rescue (Breakdown Cover) is provided by ERS (Syndicate 218 at Lloyds)
PMGI Limited, trading as Forces Mutual, is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered in England & Wales No. 1073408. Registered office: Alexandra House, Queen Street, Lichfield, Staffordshire, WS13 6QS. For your security, all telephone calls are recorded and may be monitored.