Snow is often seen as the motorist’s greatest enemy in the winter months, but frost and ice can be just as dangerous. Here Ransome Mobility, who offers wheelchair accessible vehicles for sale and hire across East Anglia, provides some top tips for hazard-free motoring when winter arrives and the temperature plummets below zero.
What to Do Before You Get Behind the Wheel…
If it’s been below 0C or lower overnight, the chances are your windscreen (and rear view window) will be frozen over in the morning. So, the first step you should take is to check the weather forecast the night before, particularly if you have an early-morning start the next day. If you haven’t got a garage, put a protective cover over the windscreen.
Sometimes this may not be possible – for instance, if there is any wind, then the covering could be blown off, so you have to defrost the glass before you set off. Check the wipers haven’t been left on before you turn the key in the ignition as you could damage the rubber if the wiper blades are stuck to the glass. Once the engine is turning over, turn the warm air blower onto the windscreen. The AA recommends turning on the air conditioning as well, as this will remove any moisture from the air and stop the car misting up. Most cars have heated rear windows so turn this control on as well.
While the internal heater is doing its work, spray de-icer onto the windscreen, if you have any; alternatively, use a scraper to remove the ice. Don’t forget to clear the headlights and indicators as well.
…And What Not to Do
Don’t be tempted to drive off until your glass is completely clear as you will be a hazard to yourself and other road users. If you drive off before the whole of your windscreen is clear, then you could be guilty of what is known as ‘portholing’ – only having an extremely limited range of vision.
Rule 229 of the Highway Code says all drivers should have a clear and unobstructed view of the entire road; if you don’t then police could say your car is in a ‘dangerous’ condition. This means officers could fine you £60 and impose three penalty points on your licence.
You should also avoid wiping clear misted up windows on the inside – you’ll leave greasy smudges, and a ring could scratch the glass. Use a lint-free absorbent cloth if necessary. Also, don’t try to take a short cut to clearing the windscreen by pouring boiling water onto the glass, as you could potentially crack it and end up with an expensive repair on your hands. Even lukewarm water should be avoided as this could refreeze.
If you are defrosting the windscreen in the approved manner, don’t leave the engine running while you aren’t around – thieves often take advantage of the key being in the ignition. You probably won’t be covered by insurance in cases like this (which are known as ‘frosting’ by the police).
Other Top Preparation Tips
There are plenty of other tips to follow before you set off. Check the tyres are all at the correct pressure, and top up any oil, coolant and screenwash levels if necessary. Make sure you also have a fully charged mobile phone in case of emergencies.
The RAC also recommend having a blanket and a flask containing a hot drink to keep you warm in case of breakdowns. Make sure to give yourself plenty of time, even on the shortest trips; while you may be prepared, there is a greater risk of accidents in colder weather.
And When You Are Actually Behind the Wheel…
In icy conditions, you should drive more slowly and leave plenty of room between you and the next vehicle ahead of you, as braking may take longer than usual. If you have stopped, for instance at a set of traffic lights, it may be worth putting the car into second gear before pulling away as this avoids any wheelspin on icy surfaces.
When going uphill, try to maintain a constant speed to avoid changing gear. When going downhill, slow down, use a low gear, and try to avoid braking.
Mobility Vehicles for Sale in East Anglia from Ransome Mobility
We not only sell nearly new and used WAVs but we keep them in excellent condition as well. Most of our vehicles come with very low mileage, are between one and three years old and are all prepared to the highest standards before going on sale. All our vehicles will be fully serviced and receive a full MOT, if required, before it is handed over. all vehicles are sold with a six-month warranty as a minimum.
We have access to hundreds of nearly new and used WAVs, so do not hesitate to contact us if you do not see anything that meets your requirements in our showroom, we are confident we can find your perfect vehicle.