Whether you are planning to visit friends and family at the other end of the country, or just around the corner, you need to take extra care on the roads this festive period. Even if you have a new car or wheelchair accessible vehicle, things can go wrong. It is an unfortunate reality of the winter weather that things are more likely to go wrong with your car causing you to break down.
But with a little forward planning, you can avoid the inconvenience, stress and expense of a winter car breakdown. Here are some tips to driving safely over Christmas.
Check your car
You should always make sure your car is roadworthy before starting your journey. Check your oil levels and tyre pressure and top up your water and washer fluid if needed.
Winter emergency kit:
It is a good idea to keep a winter emergency kit in your car so you are prepared for any eventuality over winter. It should include:
- First aid kit
- Warm winter clothing, waterproofs and sturdy footwear
- Blanket or sleeping bag
- Shovel, de-icer and scraper
- Torch and spare batteries
- Bottled water and snacks
- Fully charged mobile phone and in-car charger
- A road atlas (especially useful if your sat-nav fails)
- Tow rope
- A hazard-warning triangle
- Jump leads
- High-visibility jacket
Plan your route
- The best way to guarantee a stress-free journey is to plan your route. If you are visiting an unfamiliar place, make sure you know where you are heading. Use a sat nav or a map so you have the option to change your route if you need to at short notice.
- Remember to give yourself more time, getting anywhere is likely to take a lot longer this time of year.
- Always the check weather conditions before you travel. If there are serious weather warnings, then it is often best not to travel at all. You can check for weather warnings on the Met Office website, or listen to the radio for updates as you are travelling.
Your car is likely to need extra fuel this festive season. So it is best to keep at least a quarter of a tank of petrol in the car and regularly top it up on your journey. Your journey could take much longer than expected and you don’t want to run out of fuel.
If you’re dreaming of a white Christmas, remember that the reality of driving in snow can be quite different. Stopping distances are much longer and be on the road is more hazardous. If you feel like you’re starting to glide, it’s best to steer into the slide and keep steering until you’ve straightened up. It’s important to drive at a slow and steady speed and brake gently when the roads are icy. If you are driving an automatic car or wheelchair accessible vehicle, then check the manual to see if you can adjust your car’s settings for the winter conditions.
Stick to soft drinks
Christmas is a time when we all like to enjoy ourselves. But it is important that if you are going to be behind the wheel then you don’t drink alcohol. If you do want to enjoy some festive spirit, then it’s best to leave your car at home. Remember, if you have been drinking then you could still be affected by the alcohol the next day. So avoid driving until you are sure the alcohol is out of your system.
The key message for safe winter driving is to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. But making sure you are driving a quality serviced car is the key to getting through winter on the roads. Being disabled, or being the driver of someone with a disability shouldn’t stop you from being out on the road in a quality hire car. Gowrings Mobility has a wide range of wheelchair accessible vehicles to keep you mobile. Call 0345 608 8020, 01635 588942 or get in touch online to find out more.