Driving Home for Christmas
Driving home for Christmas? If you are, just remember to bear in mind that you won’t be the only motorist on the move…… In the weeks and especially the last few days leading up to Christmas Day, it’s safe to predict that many of the UK’s roads will be incredibly hectic as many families and individuals begin their travels for the Xmas celebrations. Depending upon what day Xmas falls will depend on how families plans there getaway – this can significantly increase the volume of cars on the road at any one time.
Besides the Xmas exodus, there are also plenty of drivers that will make shorter trips throughout the pre and post Christmas period too, rather than the one long Xmas destination journey. So, if you are planning on getting behind the wheel this winter and the up coming festive period, here are a few top tips which can help to keep you that little bit less stressed and more importantly safe.
- Check the weather forecast before you plan your trip. If severe wintry weather is predicted, it might be safer and advisable to re plan
- If the conditions are already treacherous, it’s best to drive only if you absolutely have to.
- Plan your journey as much as is practicable around the forecast to minimise any potential road hazards
- Time your trip to take advantage of low vehicle pressure. If you don’t have to travel at peak commuter times such as Friday evenings, then aim to avoid this
- Have you been partying the night away the evening before a planned journey? If you have been drinking alcohol the night before, you may not be sober enough to drive the next morning. If any doubt don’t drive and re plan your journey for an alternative date
- If the conditions are already treacherous and the forecast not great, but you have no choice than to travel, on longer journeys its always advisable to pack a warm rug, a shovel and a picnic.
Whilst the idea of a white Xmas is somewhat romantic and the perfect weather for fuelling that all important Xmas spirit, it’s not ideal weather for travelling. During the winter months and leading up to Xmas is a time when we all go Christmas shopping, we all go to various social functions and we all visit relatives. We all spend an increased amount of time in our vehicles at this time of the year and unfortunately the poorer weather tends to come at this time of the year also! So you and your family’s safety is even more paramount.
Have you ever stopped to consider fitting winter tyres and what the safety benefits are? Fitting winter tyres to your car will improve driving safety.
Pay a visit to Land Tyre Service (Banbury Tyres) for your FREE WINTER TYRE CHECK before you embark on any long journey.
What are Winter Tyres?
Tyres are the most important part of your vehicle as they are the only contact your car has with the road. Winter tyres are designed to offer optimum traction and grip in cold conditions. They have a softer compound (compared to Summer tyres) and they also have deeper grooves and narrow cuts – these are called sipes. These sipes are built into the tread of the tyre. These features on winter tyres help to disperse water and/or snow and allow the rubber to move around as they are more pliable which in turn improves the contact with the road.
Winter tyres work best at temperatures below 7 deg C. Winter tyres outperform conventional ‘summer’ tyres for traction, cornering grip and braking in such conditions regardless of whether there is snow or ice.
The tread and the tread depth on your tyres is essential in order for your tyre to function at its optimum performance. Tyres need tread depth in order to keep traction on the road and even more so in poor weather conditions. The grooves (or sipes) on your tyres work to syphon water away from the surface when the road is wet. If the tread is not at the proper depth, it can become difficult for enough water to be carried out from beneath the tyres. The minimum legal tread depth in the UK is 1.6 mm. If this is not met, it can cause hydroplaning. Hydroplaning occurs when your tyres cannot make contact with the wet surface of a road and skim across a thin layer of water.
Are Winter Tyres more expensive than Summer Tyres? Will it save me money in the long run?
The price of winter tyres varies widely, dependent on your car and the size of your wheels. On average, they are slightly more expensive than an equivalent summer tyre in the UK. However, whilst the cost of a set of 4 winter tyres is significant (especially if you purchase a set of winter wheels so you don’t have to swap them over twice a year) just bear in mind that your summer tyres will last longer as a result. So whilst you may have an initial higher cost outlay, the long term cost of having winter tyres is relatively low and you cannot put a cost on the additional safety benefits that winter tyres have to offer.
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