Winter is on its way! When the temperature drops, it's essential to maintain your wheelchair-accessible vehicle (WAV) to ensure it is safe to drive. For all users of the road, driving in the winter can be a little dangerous.
Therefore, you must consider some additional factors to guarantee the safety of everyone in the vehicle. So here is our winter driving advice to keep you safe this time of year in your WAV, including everything from de-icer to tyre pressure.
Regular maintenance is essential to maintaining a car in good working order. To keep your WAV running smoothly, booking in for routine maintenance guarantees that all the lights, tyres, brakes, oil, and other parts are in good working condition.
In addition, servicing your car, especially before the winter, is crucial in making it safer to drive since, like an MOT, it might reveal problems you overlook from everyday driving.
While your fluid levels, tyre depth and wear will be professionally inspected as part of vehicle service, it's a good idea to be mindful of them yourself in case you have a long-planned trip or if your WAV hasn't had a service in a while and winter is coming.
It would be best if you kept de-icing screen wash stocked to enable you to clear your windscreen before trips because it's going to get frosty. Additionally, ensure you have an ice scraper available for when the ice is thick. However, never use hot water to de-ice your vehicle since it could crack the windscreen.
Additionally, it would help if you regularly inspect your tyres. In winter weather, it's essential to ensure your tyres are properly inflated and have the appropriate tread depth. The central 75% tyre must have a legal tread depth of at least 1.6mm. You may find the required tyre pressure in the manual for your car or online.
For a quick tread check, simply place a 20p coin into the main tread grooves of your tyre. If the outer band of the 20p coin is obscured when it is inserted, then your tread is above the legal limit. If the outer band of the coin is visible, then your tyres may be illegal and unsafe and should be checked immediately by a qualified tyre professional.
When taking the test, remember to check at least three locations around each tyre. As the test is so quick and easy, stay safe by checking your tyres at least once a month.
While driving off as soon as you get in may be tempting, it's essential to ensure your windscreens are free of mist before you set out on your trip.
Don't forget to turn on your headlights if the weather is extreme. Other road users' vision of you is vital to your road visibility. In addition, using your headlights can help reduce accidents because it can be tricky to notice vehicles on the road without lights in bad weather, even during the day.
It would be best if you always check the weather before a trip. Then, if the weather is expected to be bad, you will have the chance to change your plans or start preparing yourself for the journey.
Because they are heavier, larger WAVs are significantly impacted by bad weather than smaller vehicles. Therefore, instead of applying the brakes to slow down gently, think about shifting gears; this will help you avoid skidding on ice. Additionally, remember that if you do start to skid on a slippy road, you should guide your car in the direction you're skidding and accelerate gradually to prevent spinning.
Here at Thorntree's Garage, we take great pride in ensuring our clients feel comfortable in their WAVs, which is why we work so hard to find wheelchair-accessible vehicles that fit their needs and budget.
We'd love to hear from you if you need any additional road safety advice, so get in touch with us to learn more about WAVs and road safety recommendations for wheelchair users.