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Winter driving – everything you need to know

fiat panda 4x4 winterWinter is here, so what do you need to do to keep your car mobile in the face of ice, snow and floods? – read our winter driving summary

In fact, we’re just going to give you a summary of what is one of the best online resources about winter driving that we’ve found, which we’ll reveal shortly. Here’s a taste of just some of the content on this informative site:

Winter motoring checklist

To reduce the risk of a breakdown and make sure that you’re equipped to deal with winter conditions, these are things that you need to think about:

• Check your car

• You and your passengers

• Year-round essentials

• Winter emergency kit

• When bad weather is forecast

• Preparing for winter

Winter driving

To drive safely in winter you’ll need to consider aspects such as the following:

• Battery and electrics

• Antifreeze

• Vision

• Visibility

• Driving in snow and ice

Winter tyres

If you want to drive safely around the UK throughout winter then cold weather tyres will give you much better grip in ice and snow. Beating Spirit has carried out tests between two-wheel drive cars with cold weather, or winter, tyres and four-wheel drive cars with standard tyres, and the two-wheel drive car beats the four-wheel drive car in the snow every time.

However winter tyres are an extra expense and we don’t usually get much snow in the UK, so all-season tyres may make more sense for many cars, especially 4x4s.

Snow chains are of limited use in the UK as they can only be used where the road surface is covered in a protective layer of compacted snow or ice. Snow chains can also be awkward to fit and remove.

Winter breakdowns

Battery faults are the most common cause of breakdowns at this time of year, but such extreme weather throws up some unusual types of issues as well, such as:

• Frozen screen washers

• Frozen wipers

• Frozen engines

• Stripped teeth on cambelt causing engine damage

• Frozen door locks and door seals

• Frozen ignition locks

• Windows frozen to their frame

• Diesel fuel waxing

• Electronic parking brake not releasing

• Frozen rear drum brakes and handbrake cables

• Frozen alternators

And if your car breaks down in extreme weather…?

If you’re stuck in the snow or in a flood we can mobilise the AA’s Special Operations Response Team (AA SORT) which uses specially equipped and adapted Land Rovers crewed by a professionally trained team to undertake vehicle rescue and recovery in floods and other severe weather. AA SORT Land Rovers carry a tow-pole and tow straps, power winches, special kinetic rope and decontamination kit (flood water can become contaminated with sewage once drain covers start to lift). Each crew member wears a dry suit, buoyancy aid and protective clothing.

So to find out more about all the above resources for winter driving, what is our top recommended website? It’s the AA website of course!