As winter spreads its icy tendrils out over our green and pleasant land, most of us don’t do anything to prepare either ourselves or our vans for winter. But the days are most definitely shorter, and the north of the country has already seen its first snow, and some are saying it’s going to be our worst winter for a while. So here at CVI, in the name of being responsible writers, we thought we’d arm you with our top tips for staying safe this winter.
- Give yourself more space to the car in front. Yes, we know this goes against everything many van drivers believe, but being bumper to bumper with the car in front isn’t actually a good idea, especially in winter. Slowing down and giving yourself more space to the vehicle in front, so you have a greater chance of recovering the van if you do lose control can be the difference between life and death – not just yours, but of other vehicles around you.
- Check your van is ready for the road. That means checking your tyre pressures are ok, (even better if you have a set of winter tyres for this time of year), your fluids are topped up, including some de-icer in your screen wash, your van battery is working well and you have a personal emergency kit ready if you need it. That includes water, a blanket or duvet and a couple of little snack bars to keep you going if you do get stuck. It’s recommended that you check your type pressure each week to be safe. Also check your roadside emergency kit is complete, your fire extinguisher is tested and you have everything you should have.
- Winter tyres are worth the investment. They will ensure you have better grip in the ice and snow, are less likely to aquaplane in the wet and the compound is better suited to winter conditions. Invest in a set and they should last you for years to come.
- Do you know how to handle your van in case of a spin or a skid? Just thinking through and visualising how you’d handle this will leave you better prepared than just winging it in the moment.
- Keep everything clean. Again, we know keeping your van clean isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but ensuring windscreens, lights and wiper blades are clean and in good working order can help keep your vision of the road at its best.
- Give yourself extra time. When the weather is bad, don’t just assume you’ll get from A to B in your usual time. You won’t, and rushing to get there is putting your life in danger when conditions are bad.
- Try to avoid stopping on hills in snowy and icy conditions. Use a low gear to get to the top, because once you’ve stopped on a steep hill, getting going again, especially in a heavy van, is easier said than done.
- Make sure your van insurance is up to date and you have enough cover for the contents. If you’re delivering Christmas gifts, check your policy covers the full value of what you’re carrying. The cheapest van insurance policy often isn’t the best. Thankfully, this is something we can help with, by filling out our form and getting the pick of the best deals and offers available.
All these things can help to keep you safe, keep other road users safe and make sure you’re around for the joys of spring, even if it does feel as if that’s a very long time to wait still.