During the Winter you are more likely to suffer a car breakdown than at any other time of year. Luckily you can equip your vehicle so that you are prepared for all the most likely eventualities. As well as all the usual items that you should regularly carry year round in your car there are several things that prove extra useful during the cold Winter months that could be a lifesaver should you encounter problems in inclement weather.
Throughout the year you should always be sure to carry practical items such as a warning triangle, spare bulbs for all your car lights and a first aid kit to deal with any emergency treatment that may be required. During the Winter you should also consider carrying the following to assist you in the event of snow, ice or extreme cold:
A blanket to keep you warm while waiting for emergency assistance to arrive. Temperatures can drop quickly once the engine cuts out so wrapping up warmly is vital. A reflective jacket would also be useful to wear while waiting by the roadside for the rescue crew to make you easier to see in bad weather or in the dark. A torch (with spare batteries) would be a great help in this situation too.
A shovel to help dig yourself out of any snow drifts you may encounter. This may be especially useful if driving in hilly or rural areas. Some spare carpet or cardboard would assist in giving traction to your wheels on icy surfaces. Some salt or sand would also be helpful in these circumstances to help clear ice around your vehicle and get you moving again.
An ice scraper, de-icer and spare screen wash are essential items to carry with you. Temperatures can often drop quickly and you need to be sure that your windows are completely clear and ice free before driving.
A tow rope and snow chains are helpful items to carry with you in the event of snow especially if you live or are planning to travel in remote areas.
Whether you love it or hate it, winter is here, and as per usual it’s likely to bring rain, snow and ice. Challenging driving conditions mean that it’s more important than ever to keep your tyres in good condition. Apart from regularly checking the depth of the tyre tread, what else do you need to do to look after your van tyres?
1.Check Your Tyre Pressure
Keeping your van’s tyres inflated to the correct pressure is vital for several reasons:
When your tyres are under-inflated, your van will not handle as well, so putting yourself and other road users at risk. If they are over-inflated, they may overheat and will be at increased risk of failing.
The second reason to keep your tyres inflated to the correct pressure is to protect the environment. If the tyres are under-inflated, your van’s fuel efficiency will be lower, and its CO2 emissions will be higher.
Save yourself some money
Vans with under-inflated tyres have increased rolling resistance and so use more fuel than they need to. Over-inflated tyres are at greater risk of damage and are likely to need replacing more often.
2.Check for Damage
Some common reasons for cuts and tears on your tyres include impact between the tyre and the kerb or driving over potholes or other irregularities on the road surface. If you spot any damage, get your tyre checked as soon as possible as the tyre will be at increased risk of failing. Kerbing can also cause wheels to get out of alignment and lead to further uneven wear on the tyres. Heavy emergency braking can also result in “flat spots” on the tyre, so if you have had to brake sharply, get your tyres checked soon.
3.Your tyres are your responsibility
New regulations including the Duty of Care and Corporate and Social Responsibility place responsibility squarely on the driver of the vehicle for checking that it is maintained in a safe condition. Keep yourself and other road users as safe as possible this winter by making fortnightly tyre inspections part of your regular van maintenance.
Doing a lot of driving around the Christmas period? You might want to read this before you do. The festive season can present a number of challenges when driving a van, such as excessive traffic, adverse weather, and slippery road conditions. Here are four tips on how to prepare your van for the Christmas break.
1. Keeping your van in working order
You might be using your van less frequently during the Christmas period, especially if you have time off work or the weather is particularly bad. Remember – the cold can damage any electrical or mechanical components in your vehicle, especially your battery. Plan ahead and if your battery begins to malfunction, use a trickle charger to help it start in cold weather. You might also want to keep some jump leads in your boot in case of an emergency.
2. Prepare your van engine
Your van engine might take much longer to get going when the temperatures drop, so steer clear of using full power and limit any revving until the motor has reached operating temperature. Making sure your vehicle’s oil is also working well can prolong the life of your engine and save you a lot of time and hassle in an emergency situation.
3. Stay safe
In adverse weather like heavy rain or snow, it is imperative that you stay safe when on the road. You must ensure that your van lights are clean, and that mirrors and windows are clear. Take some time to clear all snow or ice from your van before driving, and remove any snow that has fallen from your van that could provide an obstacle for
pedestrians. You might also want to take greater care when planning your journey. Check the latest traffic and weather reports on local television or radio stations, and find alternative routes if the weather is particularly bad.
4. Book your van for a service
If you suspect something is wrong with your van, book a service as soon as possible. It might take longer to get the van repaired during the Christmas period, so always plan ahead.