There is such a divided opinion over the unseasonably warm weather that we were experiencing right up into the New Year. Some people were glad to leave the can of de-icer in the boot, whilst others were dreaming of waking up in a real life scene from Frozen. I was most definitely enjoying the freedom of throwing on a coat and not having to really layer up. Having said that, there is something rather charming about a ‘real’ winter. Anyway, the mild spell appears to have vanished into the horizon, meaning my morning commute now starts a few minutes earlier with my must have accessory – the ice scraper and praying that I don’t have inches of snow to contend with.
It’s around December that my fear of snow starts to kick in. Don’t get me wrong, I adore the purity of snow. The lush cloud-like blanket that covers the ground looks beautiful and I would welcome snowfall with open arms if I didn’t need to travel in it. I hate the Russian roulette of ‘will I be able to walk to X without falling over and making a complete wally of myself’, coupled with ‘will the roads be gritted? Or am I going to spend my entire journey clinging onto the steering wheel like Kate clings onto Jack in Titanic?’. The local council are pretty bad at clearing snowfall where we live in surburban London. They don’t even bother looking at my road. Sometimes they send a snow plough onto the main road if it’s really bad, but aside from that it’s all wellies, shovels and hope. It’s also really hilly where we live and the snow settles quite easily, which makes it like a giant ice slide in the bad weather. I really despise driving in the snow because I worry about losing control or someone else losing control and causing an accident. It pretty much terrifies me!
We are all so busy, rushing around from here to there that time has become so precious and it’s often easy to forget the simple things such as checking the car is in top shape. In winter I think it’s really crucial to ensure that we are being as safe as we can. We are often met with unpredictable situations such as flooded roads, icy patches and snow flurries and these situations can really impact the way we drive. I was driving home this morning and out of nowhere flakes of snow started falling. Even though I checked the Met Office’s website for an update.
A friend of mine once skidded on an icy patch whilst trying to stop at a red traffic light, which sent her ploughing into oncoming traffic. Fortunately she was fine, however her car wasn’t. It could so easily have been a different story. Whilst I think that there will be times when you will lose control of your vehicle if the conditions are dangerous, there are ways in which you can help yourself be more prepared.
1. A can of de-icer and a scraper. You never know if the temperature drops whilst you are out and having them to hand is really helpful.
2. A blanket. This is mostly incase I need it for the dog, but also beneficial if I find myself broken down in freezing temperatures.
3. Tyres inflated to the right pressure. It’s super easy (even I can do it!) and not only will help keep you safe, but also save you a few pennies in fuel. Hurrah!
4. Winter Tyres. A lot of people feel that this is a waste of money, but using the right tyres can have real benefits. It can improve your safety on the road and make your journeys easier. I have everybody from children, friends and the dog in the car, so like to make sure we are all as safe as can be!
5. A small shovel. I used to have a convertible and whilst it was a dream in the summer, it morphed into the worst car known to man in the winter. With its low suspension, it always got stuck whenever it snowed. Once I even had to be dug out by the bin men! My little Mercedes A class has a higher suspension, so hopefully it won’t be as much as a problem.
6. Anti freeze. It’s really helpful because the last thing you need is for the fluid to freeze up.
7. Fully functioning bulbs. Luckily, my car flashes a warning sign when one of my bulbs blow, but not all cars do and with the darker evenings, it’s important to be seen. I really hate it when I see people driving around with a light out. Partly because it looks terribly unsemitrical and also because I think it’s super dangerous!
8. Sunglasses. Maybe it’s because I am constantly lusting after summer (even when it’s supposed to be summer!), but I always have a cheap pair in the car. They are especially helpful in the low winter sun, which I think is exceptionally dangerous. You only have to turn a corner and bam! It’s right in your face like the new Adele track.
I’ve mentioned the tyres twice because I really do feel like it’s so important. They are what’s ultimately between you and the road. Not to mention what will stop you from sliding into things. It can be a niggly process when buying new tyres, checking if they have the one you need, comparing prices etc. There is a company called Point S, and their website
can point you in the right direction when choosing tyres. It’s so easy to use and really convenient. You don’t even have to remember the exact tyre size code because you can pop in your registration plate and they present you with a variety of tyres for all price ranges. My husband was quoted over £200 for a new tyre from BMW, but he can get one for under £80 just by doing a simple search on there. Better than that, enter your postcode and voila! You can reserve it at your local fitter straight away.
How do you find driving in the winter months? Do you have any handy tips?
*Disclaimer – This is a collaborative post with Point S.