Now that winter is upon us, it's important to ensure everyone takes the right precautions when driving on the road. Driving a freight lorry full of goods is certainly a lot different from driving a car in icy conditions but here are some top tips from our logistics experts here at Broughton Transport and some fun facts about driving in UK and European winter weather!
First, some top tips:
Check your tyres
Having the wrong tyre pressure or insufficient tyre tread on your tyres can be dangerous when driving in any weather conditions - and the risks of having an accident are much greater when the roads are icy. Even if you meet the legal requirements for tyre tread, having less tread means less grip and you may want to consider replacing them. The same goes for the age of your tyres. The older a tyre is, the higher a risk for the tread to separate unexpectedly so just because they look in good condition all round, with no cracks or wear on the inside or outside of the tread, ensure they are properly inspected if they're older than 5 years.
How old should tyres be before they are replaced?
On average a tyre should last approximately 25,000 miles. This figure is according to Michelin. However, some tyre manufacturers' recommend that all tyres regardless of how many miles they've done or the depth of tread left on them, should be replaced after 10 years. As a UK to Europe logistics company, you can imagine how many tyres we get through at Broughton Transport!
Take corners more carefully
In icy conditions, there is much less grip when driving around corners and vehicles are more likely to slide. Driving into corners at a slower speed than you normally do helps reduce the risk of losing grip on the road.
Consider winter tyres
Adding winter tyres can dramatically improve safety and how well your vehicle handles on the road. You may want to consider storing away your normal tyres until the winter months are over. Some garages offer a service of storing your normal tyres for you so that you can use winter tyres during the colder months of the year without worrying about where to put your standard tyres.
In icy and wet conditions, the braking distance is much longer. Another factor to consider is how much weight you are carrying in your car, van or lorry. If you have passengers or a heavy load, then your vehicle will take longer to stop. Try to leave larger gaps between yourself and the vehicle in front of you and brake early when approaching junctions.
Defrost your windows thoroughly before driving
It's very easy when you are in a rush to get to work (or somewhere else) to only clear a small area of the vehicle windscreen. Unfortunately, this can be very dangerous as it limits visibility and if your car, van or lorry isn't fully warmed up then even that small area that you have cleared might mist or ice up again once you start driving. Make sure your windscreen is fully cleared and you can see properly before driving off. Those extra few minutes clearing the windows properly can reduce the risks of a serious accident!
Consider a winter service
Winter weather can put an engine and other parts of a vehicle under severe pressure. It's worth paying for a winter service to make sure that your car, van or lorry is running smoothly and has the correct levels of oil, screen wash and tyre tread (to name just a few things!).
As it’s the festive season, here are some interesting and fun facts about car safety!
Tyres in Germany
In Germany, it's not a legal requirement to have winter tyres on your car even though everybody has them fitted. Why? it comes down to car insurance. Insurance companies will not payout in the event of an accident if you don't have winter tyres installed!
Winter tyres and those with an Alpine symbol on - a snowflake - (referred in Germany as all-season tyres) still comply with German law. But German law does not refer to winter tyres, but to “tyres with winter properties”. It is mandatory to use this type of tyre in winter conditions which are defined as: ice, slush and slippery conditions caused by ice or frost and slippery conditions in snow. So be careful because it might snow in the spring months, meaning winter tyres would be compulsory in other months – not just the traditional ‘winter’ months.
Fuel levels in Germany
In Germany, it's a legal requirement to have a minimum of 7 litres of fuel in your tank at all times. This is to protect drivers from the cold that might be stranded because of extremely cold weather conditions. If you have a car manufactured in Germany, the fuel light will most likely be set to come on when you have 7 litres of fuel left. That’s because of this legislation.
When travelling in Germany, make sure your vehicle has low emissions because as of 2018, German cities have the right to ban diesel cars from entering to tackle their high levels of pollution.
How far will you drive?
According to carsurance.net, we typically drive 20% longer distances in summer than during the winter months. This increases the risks of accidents during the summer as there are more people on the roads, including bikers who store away their bikes during the winter - but that doesn't mean that winter driving is in any way safer!
We hope you have enjoyed these tips and interesting facts about driving in icy conditions. At Broughton Transport, we are committed to delivering goods for our customers as efficiently and safely as possible.