1. ITV Report

Drivers putting themselves at risk by not carrying out winter car checks

Drivers are not carrying out winter car checks Photo: PA file picture

Millions of drivers are putting their safety at risk by failing to carry out basic winter car checks, according to a study. Last year 30% of motorists skidded on icy or wet roads, 10% got stuck in snow and 10% experienced a flat battery.

Some of the simplest winter checks like inspecting the tread on your tyres and changing your oil can have a huge impact on the safety of your vehicle and the likelihood of a breakdown. The findings show that millions of drivers are ignoring these vital winter preparations and choosing not to keep basic winter driving essentials in their vehicles. As the evenings get darker and driving conditions deteriorate this is extremely risky.

Winter weather is extremely unpredictable and breaking down in these conditions can be costly and dangerous. It's easy to take these things for granted or forget to check them at all, so before the winter weather really takes its toll, we're urging drivers to follow a few simple checks to ensure their vehicles are winter-ready."

– Miranda Schunke, spokesperson for Green Flag

Tips on preparing your car for winter from Green Flag:

  • The best place to start is under the bonnet. Ensure that your vehicle's oil has the right viscosity and remember that oil tends to get thicker during colder months. The thicker the oil, the less effectively it will lubricate, so make sure you change it regularly and ensure the level is between the maximum and minimum marks on the dipstick.
  • Check your battery connections are secure and corrosion free. Batteries more than three years old hold charge less effectively so check the level in the cells or have your battery professionally tested.
  • Aim for a 50-50 mix of antifreeze and water in your radiator to ensure reliability. If in doubt, ask your local engineer to check it for you or purchase an antifreeze tester.
  • Low visibility is a major cause of road accidents in winter so replace your windscreen wiper blades with winter wipers if you're a frequent driver and always replace summer washer fluid with winter fluid that won't freeze.
  • While it may not be necessary to change to snow tyres, ensure that your tyre pressure is at an adequate level. Tyres that are properly inflated will help ensure the best possible traction, which can be compromised in wet and snowy conditions.
  • Finally, don't get caught out if something does go wrong - make sure you carry a seasonal survival kit in your car including a few snacks to eat. These are necessary in order to keep warm and safe while waiting for assistance in the event of a winter breakdown.