With winters not being a bad as they used to be years ago most motorists are not prepared for times when we get the few days of bad weather. We have all seen the pictures on the news when 1” of snow falls and parts of the country grind to a halt.
When we had bad winters many motorists used to have a set of winter tyres which they would change when the weather started to turn. Now with all our alloy wheels, low profile tyres and body kits It would be difficult to either get snow tyres in that size or they would not fit under the wheel arch. In fact modern tyres have made the situation worse as they are so wide they cannot cut through the snow. Last winter we had a small snowfall and I had to go into work. So which car do I take? I have a modern MGZS with low profile wide tyres and a 1972 Triumph Spitfire with nice narrow tyres with a good deep tread (almost like the old winter tyres) The choice was made easy for me when I could not even get the ZS off my drive. As soon as the car started to move the wheels were spinning and I was going no where. So off to the Spitfire, no problems what so ever with traction I was able to drive safely to and from work without any problems.
Now if you have one of those modern wide, low profile alloy wheeled machines the following could be of some help.
- If you’re going to drive in severe cold, or snowy and icy conditions, make sure you’re properly equipped The weather can worsen very quickly in winter, so even if it looks OK when you set off, be prepared!
- Check the car is prepared for winter antifreeze, lights, wipers, tyres, battery and the general condition of the car.
- Before you set off make sure you have properly defrosted and demisted all the windows of the cars so you can see where you are going.
- When driving on slippery roads, drive slowly, smoothly and gently - accelerate gently, steer gently and brake gently.
- If you have a rear wheel drive car put some sand bags in the boot to give you extra weight over the driving wheels, you can also use the sand to put down extra grip if you get stuck.
- Tell someone where you’re going, what route you’re taking and what time you’re expecting to arrive at your destination.
- Make sure you have a full tank of fuel - this will allow you to keep the engine running for warmth (through the heating system), without fear of running out of fuel, if you get delayed or stuck.
- Carry warm clothes and blankets to keep you warm if you get stuck. A bar of chocolate could also come in handy.
- Carry de-icer fluid, a scraper, jump leads and a tow rope.
- Pack some pieces of old sacking, or similar material, which you can place under the wheels to give better traction if you get stuck.
- Pack a shovel, in case you need to dig yourself out of trouble.
- The most important advice is that if the weather is going to be bad stay at home unless the journey is absolutely necessary or an emergency.