Winter Landscape Volvo

Driving home for Christmas? Here’s how vinegar and 20ps can help motorists enjoy a smooth ride this December

With many road users driving less frequently after months of working from home, we offering some easy tips for local residents to bring back confidence driving in wintery weather.

Duncan Chapman, Retailer Principal, from Ray Chapman Motors, said: “Adverse weather conditions, longer nights and congested roads can make the winter months more hazardous for drivers, but with awareness of these dangers and a little preparation, there’s no reason to be nervous.

“There are a number of things you can do to protect yourself and your car before long journeys – with some techniques more conventional than others!

1. Back to basics

“There are a few simple checks you may need to get back into the habit of doing regularly during the winter months, and while they may sound obvious, they might be overlooked if you’re leaving in a hurry. It’s important that your car has plenty of fuel, its oil and coolant is topped up, and that the electrics are all working properly.

2. Tread carefully

“Your tyres are your connection to the road, so it’s essential that they are in good condition and correctly inflated. The legal minimum level of tread is 1.6mm. However, during winter it’s advisable to have tread of at least 3mm to help with driving on slippery surfaces. A clever trick to test the tread depth is to use a 20p coin. When you insert the coin into one of the grooves on the tyre, the rim of the coin should sit in the tyre so that it’s no longer visible. If this isn’t the case, it’s time to buy some new tyres.

3. Ice, ice baby

“Few things are more frustrating than getting ready to hop in the car and finding the windscreen completely frozen over. However, most people don’t know there are things you can do to prevent the ice forming in the first place.

“One of these tricks involves mixing three-parts vinegar to one-part water and spraying it on your screen the night before. The solution has a much lower freezing point than any water that gathers on the car overnight, so your windscreen won’t ice over.

4. Be ready for anything

“Winter driving isn’t just about what you do before you get on the road – it’s also about being prepared for anything during your journey. During the colder months, it’s wise to keep an emergency kit in your car, including warm layers of clothing, water and snacks, a torch, a shovel, a warning triangle, a first-aid kit and a fully charged mobile phone.

5. Take a test drive

“If you feel like you’re a bit out of practice, take a test drive before a long drive. It’ll help reassure you and give you a chance to check that the car is running smoothly.