This January there have been amber warnings for cold weather, with the possibility of snow and ice on the roads worrying motorists all around the UK. Often, when it snows in the UK everything completely shuts down as no one knows how to deal with it and any kind of transportation is almost impossible. We previously spoke about how to prepare your motorhome for the winter so here are some top tips on how to drive and look after your classic car in these dangerous conditions.
The Met Office issued weather warnings earlier this week and has advised avoiding driving if you are at risk of facing hazardous conditions. The Met Office said: “Road surface temperatures will fall widely below freezing on Friday evening and overnight into Saturday, leading to a risk of ice on untreated surfaces. This will be exacerbated by showers in places.
“A mixture of rain, sleet and wet snow is likely, with most of any settling snow taking place above about 200m. However, wet roads at low levels will contribute to the risk of ice formation.”
First things First…
Before you drive your classic car in winter weather you must ensure its tyres are suitable for icy, snowy and rainy conditions. Not only should the tread depth meet legal requirements, you will also need to look at the age of your tyres as rubber can degrade over time even if they do look fine to the eye.
It is also wise to double check your battery because you may be in need of a replacement. If it has gone flat within the year it may be time to purchase a new one as cold engines are under much more strain in the cold weather. Don’t forget to also check your coolant because even though you should be doing this regularly and flushing it yearly you never know what could happen!
If you approach your car and it is iced over allow at least 10 minutes to completely de-ice the vehicle. You can use a scraper or de-icer to help the process along however don’t forget about the smaller windows and mirrors as they are still vital. Do not drive off until every part of your car has been de-iced as this is illegal and can void your classic car insurance if you were to have an accident.
Do not pour warm or boiling water on your car to try and de-frost it quickly because this can crack the windscreen which will cost a substantial amount to get fixed! You can also buy lock de-icers to clear out your lock, however if you don’t have lock de-icer you could always try warming the key with your hands.
Driving your Classic Car
When driving in the snow you should accelerate slowly and gently and make sure to change up a gear as soon as possible. Moving off in second gear can also help prevent any sliding or skidding. Not only should the acceleration be gentle but so should braking and steering as well.
Give yourself some extra time to reach your destination, as often when the roads are icy it can create traffic on the roads. Don’t feel tempted to drive faster if you are running late because you will be putting yourself at risk. You should also keep your distance from other cars as stopping times on icy or wet roads are a lot slower and you could end up skidding unknowingly.
If you do hit some ice and end up skidding you must steer slowly and gently into it, i.e. if the back-end of the car is skidding to the left you should turn the steering wheel to the left. Make sure you do not slam your foot on the brakes or take your hands off the wheel.
Don’t forget that during winter there is often an awkward glare from the low sun so it is essential that you keep a pair of sunglasses in your car at all times.
Driving in winter can be very touch and go especially in a classic car so make sure you follow all these tips to keep you and your car safe!
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