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Merityre: Driving home for Christmas

11th December 2014

With the number of breakdowns nearly doubling over the winter months it is important to know how to cope with plummeting temperatures, snow and ice. Although you can’t predict the weather, you can prepare for it by following our ‘Driving home for Christmas’ guide, with tips on vehicle checks and how to avoid being stranded on the hard shoulder this Christmas Eve.

Check your vehicle

Remember you can get all your maintenance checks professionally done at your local Merityre Specialists branch; however there are a number of checks you can make on your vehicle at home to get your car winter-ready.

Brakes – It is important to be aware of your brakes’ performance throughout the year, but particular attention should be paid to them during the winter months. If it feels like your vehicle is taking longer to stop than usual, or if your brakes are making strange sounds when applied, get them checked immediately by an expert.

Battery - Lights, heaters and wipers put high demands on the car battery so it is important to avoid running electrical systems any longer than necessary. If you notice your car beginning to struggle as it turns over, or if your lights appear dimmer than usual it might be time to invest in a new battery.

Coolant and screen wash – Your coolant and screen wash levels should be checked regularly, and anti-freeze should be added to avoid freezing at low temperatures.

Tyres – Regularly check your tyre pressures and their overall condition to ensure there is adequate tread - also keeping an eye out for any damage such as splits or bulges. If you live in an area particularly at risk of snow it may be worth investing in winter tyres which give you greater traction and control. Merityre stock a wide range of winter tyres suitable for many different types of vehicles.

Be prepared

It is crucial to plan your journey when the weather is unpredictable. Remember to leave yourself enough time to prepare your vehicle and plan your route around busier roads as they are more likely to be gritted. Ensure you also have enough petrol in your tank before you set off and consider packing an emergency kit in case you get caught out:

Emergency kit:

  • Phone charger
  • Warm clothes
  • De-icer and scraper
  • Spade or shovel
  • Jump leads
  • Water/snacks
  • Boots
  • Blanket
  • Torch

Out and about

  • Remain cautious during your journey as it is easy to lose control on wet, snowy or icy roads
  • Allow plenty of space between you and the vehicle in front; double or even triple your normal stopping distance as skidding is a common occurrence
  • If you find yourself skidding, take your feet off the pedals and steer in order to regain control of your vehicle. Remember to only use the brake if you cannot steer out of trouble
  • Always use your headlights/fog lights when visibility is poor
  • Stop when necessary to clear any snow from your windscreen