Prepare Your Car To Avoid A Winter Breakdown

Avoid A Winter Breakdown

Avoid A Winter Breakdown

Winter is fast approaching but many British motorists will head out into the cold and wet without carrying out any maintenance checks putting themselves at risk of encountering a breakdown or accident.

After a long summer and mild autumn, many drivers could be caught unawares if the temperature suddenly drops. Research from breakdown specialist, Green Flag, found that over 75 per cent of motorists do not check their battery before winter, even though this is the most common cause of breakdown.

Non-starts due to battery problems account for almost 50 per cent of all requests for breakdown assistance.  With some simple maintenance and preventative action as soon as the battery starts to fail, many of these breakdowns could be avoided. Tell-tale signs include difficulties in turning the engine over on cold mornings and after the car has been parked up for a long period.

Some 13 per cent of motorists will not conduct any checks on their car before the winter and less than half will check the battery, brakes, lights or windscreen wipers.

Adapting driving techniques for the winter roads is also advisable yet almost a third of drivers do not keep a greater distance from the car in front in winter weather conditions and one-in-five do not drive any slower.

Philippa Naylor, spokesperson for Green Flag, said: "During the winter, calls for assistance increase by ten per cent compared to the spring. It's important that people remember the number one cause of breakdown is a flat battery which could be prevented if you get it checked regularly and remember to turn off your lights.

"A few simple checks before the cold really kicks in could help prevent a breakdown. We also advise people to drive slower and leave a bigger distance between the car in front to prevent accidents on winter roads."

It is important to prepare the car for the cold weather ahead to avoid any motoring mishaps. Follow Green Flag's top ten tips for safer driving this winter.

  1. Check the region's weather forecast before setting off and throughout the journey.
  2. Check your battery regularly at a garage and remember not to leave your lights on.
  3. Allow for a few minutes before you set off to carry out a few necessary maintenance checks.
  4. Remove ice to ensure you have good all-round visibility.
  5. Ensure tyres are inflated to the correct pressure and have adequate tread depth.
  6. Check the oil and water levels and top up if necessary.
  7. Ensure wiper blades are in good condition and top up screen washer bottles.
  8. Make sure all lights are clean and in good working order to ensure optimum visibility.
  9. Carry a fully-charged mobile phone in the car with the number of your breakdown organisation stored in it in case of emergencies.
  10. Keep a few essentials in the car such as an ice-scraper, de-icer, spade, torch and boots plus a blanket, some water and some food in case you find yourself stranded.
2 December 2006 Staff

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