When you’re driving in Scotland during the winter months, you will find that it’s very different than at other times of the year. With the unpredictable weather conditions and colder temperatures, as well as longer and darker nights, winter brings with it many driving challenges.
So, here at Scottish Vauxhall, we want to ensure you are as safe on the road as possible. We’re giving you our top winter weather safety tips to help you be prepared for what lies ahead and stay safe.
Find the right tyres for your car
Below 7°C the rubber compound in all summer tyres hardens, causing a drop in performance and an increase in braking distance by up to 12%.1 the average winter temperature in the North and North East of Scotland is approximately 0°C, most likely even lower during commuting hours. Therefore, you may want to consider switching to winter tyres over the next few weeks to ensure they are giving you the best possible grip come rain, ice or snow. Choosing the right tyres for the job will give you greater control and confidence with a 50 per cent shorter braking distance in cold conditions. And it’ll keep your tread intact much longer. Get in touch with us to find the right tyres for you.
If you’re not looking to change to winter tyres, at the very least, you should make sure your regular tyres are legal for winter driving. The recommended minimum tyre tread during winter months is 3mm.
Ensure your car is ready for the cold
You need to make sure your car is well-maintained and prepared for winter. An up-to-date MOT and regular servicing are key for this, as even the smallest faults on your car can become big safety issues during winter. If you can, book your car in for a service with in Buckie, Inverness, Dingwall or Elgin and we will ensure your car is in top working order.
Make some simple checks
There are a number of easy checks you can do which will give you that extra peace of mind when it comes to driving in the winter weather. Just making sure your lights, brakes, tyres, windscreen wipers and car battery are all in full working order will go a long way in ensuring your car is suitable for winter driving.
Also, don’t forget to check and top-up all your fluids. Your screenwash, engine oil, and brake fluid are all essential inspections to ensure your car is in tip-top condition.
You could also book your car in for a Winter Safety Check with us, and, from just £10, one of our Vauxhall-trained technicians will complete a 25 point comprehensive check of your vehicle.
Pack a winter driving kit
However long the journey, you should always make sure there are a few essentials in your car throughout winter, just in case you breakdown. Here’s a list of a few important items you should consider having in your winter driving kit:
Allow extra time before you set off on any type of journey
One of the key road safety rules for drivers to adhere to is that they must be able to see clearly out of all windows before departing on their journey. This means you need to allow sufficient time before you hit the road to properly de-ice and de-mist your car windows. You can use lukewarm water (make sure it is never hot or boiling), an ice-scraper and de-icer whilst your engine is running to speed up the process. All windows must be clear of snow, ice and mist before setting off.
Prepare for the change in light
The nights are darker earlier, which brings poor visibility with the glare from low sunlight and headlights. To reduce dazzling, ensure your windscreen is clean inside and out by making sure your wipers are working properly – if not, replace them to avoid any smearing.
Adapt for the change in road conditions
Dealing with icy roads and snow can be tricky especially on rural Scottish roads, but if you make sure you adapt to these road conditions, it doesn’t have to become a challenge. Reduce your speed and prepare for increased stopping distances by keeping a large gap between you and the car in front. Also, you can avoid skidding by changing to a lower gear earlier on before gently pressing on the brake.
Vauxhall Accident Management service
Finally, and this is an easy one, put 0333 3202 304 in your phone – it’s the number for our Vauxhall Accident Management service, which you get for free as a Vauxhall driver.
And that’s our top winter safety tips and driving techniques to help you drive safely during the cold season. Remember, if you are in need of any advice or would like to book your car in for a service or safety check, you can just pop in to see us and we will be happy to help.