With Halloween and Bonfire night out of the way we can begin to look forward to Christmas and a proper winter. While thoughts of Europe and elections may be a distraction, once again it is time to think about your car and driving over the festive season.
From the comfort of your warm house check:-
- Are all licences are up to date. You may have been asked to renew with a new photo or if passing years catch up, with up to date medicals [particularly if you are licenced to drive lorries];
- Is correct insurance in place for both you and any other drivers? This means making sure that renewals have happened [“I was sure it was on automatic renewal” will not be a defence] Check that standing orders are still in place if you are spreading the cost, again, failure by bank or broker may not be enough to avoid having your car impounded at the road side;
- Next step outside, walk round your car and do some basic checks. [Most garages will do this for you for a small charge];
- Put the steering on full lock and check that you have legal tread across the whole of each tyre. I often see clients facing charges for driving with illegal tyres where camber has been knocked out and tread stripped on the inside of a tyre which cannot be seen easily. Loss of tread depth is one of the most important factors affecting stopping distances, so if in any doubt fit new rubber and consider fitting winter or cross season tyres;
- Check that your brakes work properly. Sounds obvious but again easy to check and a new set of pads may save your or another’s life;
- Check that all your lights are working and clean. Firstly because it is better to see and be seen and secondly because a failed light is an invitation to the Police to pull you over. I recommend driving on dipped head lights all the time and note that newer cars adopt this as a default setting;
- Is the screen wash bottle filled with water and anti freeze/cleaner?; and
- Inside the car; is the windscreen clean and clear of stickers and obstructions? Consider disabling hands free and putting any mobiles away in the glove box. There is now clear evidence that using hands free phones is as disabling as a few drinks, and on ice or in the wet every second will be important. You might want to check that any first aid kit is loaded and in date and stash some water and chocolate in case you get stuck. [Trans - Pennine drivers please note!]
I also add a plea that everyone tries to remain calm on our jammed road networks. It is so easy to become upset at the actions of others, but so much better to avoid confrontation where ever possible.
These simple steps will go some way to ensuring that you enjoy a merry festive season and drive happily into the New Year, however if you do get a card from the Police amongst your Christmas Cards remember to call Cartwright King as we will be able to help.