Winter driving Ė 8 tips to stay safe with Diamond
When it comes to British weather there are no guarantees Ė one winter we may find ourselves wrapping up in scarves and jumpers while the next itís disappointingly mild and damp.
This lack of consistency means we really do need to be prepared for all eventualities on the road, which is why weíve prepared this great guide to winter driving.
Some of these may seem a little bit straightforward, but sometimes itís the simplest things we forget and often those things are the most important.
1. Plan it
Weíll start with the most obvious - make sure you know where youíre going! ĎObvsí you may think, but not so obvious if poor weather conditions result in a road being closed and you need to change your route. Whether youíre driving home for Christmas on familiar roads or off visiting friends, check the weather before setting off so youíll be prepared if you do end up being diverted.
2. Back to basics
Sat Navs are pretty great, their robotic, monotone voice can be soothing when you have a long journey to an unfamiliar place ahead. However, useful as they are they arenít always the best option when bad weather kicks in as they could be leading you down a road blocked by snow. Make sure you have an up-to-date paper map on hand, should technology fail you.
3. Check those tyres
Make sure you have at least 3mm of tread on your tyres when driving in winter. You can buy a decent quality tyre tread depth gauge from Halfords for less than £5. Make sure the tread is no less than 2mm for maximum grip.
4. Time to think
Itís one of those things we all know but itís often easy to ignore, we need to leave plenty of room for braking. During the winter months Diamondís Claims team deal with lots of calls from people who havenít had time to brake Ė donít be one of them. Whether the road is icy, or slick because of a sudden downpour, be sure to increase the distance between you and the car in front. There should be a two second gap between you in good conditions, double this if conditions are poor.
5. Calm down
In poor conditions, even driving at a steady pace could result in you losing control of your car when coming up to a bend. If you do go into a skid or a slide, depressing the clutch and gradually steering into a skid rather than slamming on the brakes could be the difference between you getting home on time or standing at the roadside waiting for a recovery truck.
6. Watch that windscreen
Unsurprisingly, our Claims team speaks to a lot of people who have damaged their windscreen by pouring boiling water all over it when rushing to get out of the house. Best case scenario the water will re-freeze and cause you to be even later, worst case scenario it cracks your windscreen. In icy weather itís better to get up 10 minutes earlier, turn your heaters to a low heat and get scraping with a soft edged windscreen scraper.
7. Be prepared
Embrace your inner girl scout and get prepared for whatever the weather throws at you. It might be tempting to leave the boot of your car empty ready for Christmas shopping trips, but over the winter months it's worth sacrificing the space and putting in some essentials including:
- Replacement antifreeze and some jump leads
- A blanket
- Warm clothes and wellies
- Bottled water
- A torch with batteries
And of course make sure your mobile phone is fully charged before you head out.
8. Finally...take care
If you're involved in an accident this winter, take down these details which will help us to process your claim:
- Driver's name and contact details including address
- Any witness details
- Any injuries in your vehicle and/or any other vehicles involved
- Any passenger information
Donít sit in your vehicle or stand in close proximity at the side of the road; it's bad enough your car is damaged without another vehicle having a similar accident and causing you to sustain an injury.
For useful numbers and who to contact when you have an accident visit our make a claim page.