Top Tips for Car Owners on coldest night of the season

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It is expected to be one of the coldest nights of the season so far tonight and with traffic disruption on the roads this morning Robert Burns, Commercial Director Saltworks Ltd, the only Specialist Company providing salt spreading and snow ploughing amenities in Northern Ireland, gives his tips and advice for motorists setting out tomorrow in order to minimize any disruption.

“Icy stretches are expected to form overnight on roads which have remained wet from showers and patchy frost is also expected late in the night with temperatures expected to drop as low as -3C. We would encourage motorists to be prepared this evening and cover their windscreens before they go to bed, do not attempt to pour hot water on your car windscreen as it can cause it to crack and allow extra time for your journey in the morning.

“It is much easier to deal with frosty and icy conditions if you have the correct procedures in place to keep your organisation operational and safe for both staff and members of the public” concluded Robert.

  1. To help ensure your car does not get stolen…..While you use a scraper and de-icer on the outside of your car, starting the engine, switching on the heated seats, rear screen and mirrors and allowing air-conditioned air to circulate to gently warm air is much better than letting your car run, with the keys in the ignition while you have that last cup of coffee in your kitchen. Your vehicle insurance is void if someone steals your car in this scenario.
  2. At this time of the year, get up 20 mins earlier to allow for defrosting your car, and any surprises the cold weather can bring ie. slower traffic, an accident (RTA) etc. Take your time and watch your driving. Rushing because it took 5 mins to defrost your car is rarely going to end up the way you want it.
  3. Keep a snow shovel in your car, and another at home….just in case. They are not expensive.
  4. Keep a de-icing kit in your car, including de-icer, snow shovel, cloth/rags, ice scraper, anti-freeze etc. Also by carrying extra clothes and a blanket, sleeping bag in your boot, you may be able to spend a comfortable night in your car. No one expects to be trapped in their car, but many were in Belfast last March. The blanket may be to keep another, not just you comfortable. Be prepared.
  5. Make sure you clear any snow off your vehicle before you set off. Do not leave a porthole to see through, clear the entire windscreen by hand and do not leave it to blow off. This is illegal and may well earn you a ticket and points on your licence. Clearing snow off your roof means that you will not blind the car behind you when it flies off whilst driving.
  6. The MET office are warning of icy blasts within the next while so put winter screen wash in your car washer bottle and check the anti-freeze in your car BEFORE the cold weather sets in and your car is damaged. If you don’t know how to do it, call into a service station or ask a friend before it is too late.
  7. When driving (and parking) avoid sudden acceleration, cornering and braking. Use your gears to slow up rather than just braking and leave plenty of room at all times. If you drive into the back of someone else, the police and insurance companies will view you as the person in the wrong. So take your time, better to be a few minutes late than not make it there at all…..
  8. Compare the price of winter tyres for your car (not snow tyres) to your insurance excess. Add to that the confidence being able to brake, corner and accelerate properly in the winter and you might surprise yourself. If you sell the car next year, add the price of the additional tyres to the deal.
  9. Keep your vehicle’s lights operational, clean and clear at all times, but particularly in the winter months.
  10. Get a mobile phone charger which operates in your car. All batteries deteriorate much quicker in cold weather and you never know when you might need to boost the battery life of your mobile

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Love Belfast
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