5 things every driver needs to know before winter bites
How the weather is going to affect your driving
We've got off lightly so far this year - it's been windy but pretty mild. But that's apparently all about to change. With true winter just around the corner, you need to brush up on a few areas.
Ever driven through flood water? Think you know how to adjust your driving to storms and high winds? Maybe now is the time to check before you're put to the test.
How your battery's doing
Your car's battery is more likely to die on a cold morning because it doesn't recharge as quickly in lower temperatures, and you're also putting more strain on it with lights, wipers and heating.
Don't wait for the nasty surprise one morning. Get yourself down to Halford's for their free winter health check. They'll check your battery, bulbs, oil, blades and screenwash for no money at all.
Flat batteries are the number one reason for breaking down. Don't let it be you!
When you need to use your lights
Your lights not only help you see; they also - very important - help other drivers see YOU. You're probably driving in the dark already by this point in the year but it's worth taking a look at how you should use your car lights to stay safe this winter.
We all seem to struggle most with fog lights, maybe because we don't use them that much. The official guidance is to put your fog lights on when you can't see beyond 100 metres in front of you. That's the distance Usain Bolt is really good at running, if that helps you remember.
Do bear in mind that having your fog lights on when there is absolutely no need is illegal because they can dazzle other drivers. Find out more about driving in fog.
How to get out of a sticky situation
If you get stuck in snow, mud or ice, go into a high gear and come off the clutch reeeeaaalllllyyyy slowly. Don't keep revving the engine - it'll only make your wheels spin. If you're really stuck, laying down a rug (or your floor mats if you're far from home) can give your tyres the grip they need to get out.
If you're faced with flood water, get a low gear and drive very slowly to avoid making waves that'll get into your engine. You actually WANT to rev the engine in this situation because it'll keep water out of your exhaust (which can bust your catalytic converter).
What you need in your car in case of disaster
The only thing worse than breaking down is breaking down in the dark and cold. Do yourself a big favour and put a little winter driving kit together to make the worst case scenario a bit more bearable.
Warm clothes, a torch, jump leads, ice scraper, a few biscuits and a first aid kit should be the bare minimum but you can find more useful things to put in here.