The clocks go back this weekend, marking the start of winter. While there’s plenty to look forward to, the season can bring with it difficult driving conditions.

In fact, research says we’re up to 30% more likely to have an accident after the clocks change. Many of those accidents are down to simple jobs that haven’t been noticed or were ignored, such as broken lights.

Winter can also bring challenging weather including fog, heavy rain, ice and snow. While we’re lucky not to have really harsh winters in the UK it still pays to prepare for the worst to avoid caught out.

Getting your car ready for winter is quick and simple and will make sure you’re ready for whatever the season throws at you.

Follow our simple guide to what you should do and what to have in the boot…

Give your car a winter check up

Most of these checks should be done by drivers every month anyway, but research shows that nearly a third don’t carry out regular maintenance checks. It’ll take you less than 10 minutes so there’s really no excuse not to give your car a little TLC.

The basic list should include:

  • Tyres – check tread depths, look for damage and make sure inflated to correct level
  • Lights – Ensure all are clean and working
  • Fluids – oil, anti-freeze and washer bottle fluid all topped up to right levels
  • Heating / air-con – Make sure all the blowers are working correctly to prevent the car fogging

If you spot anything amiss either fix it yourself or get it sorted now before the bad weather really hits. Or, if you’re not confident in checking the car yourself, go somewhere like Kwik Fit who’ll look it over for free.

Get protected

Accidents and breakdowns are common in winter so consider who’ll help you if you run into difficulty.

  • 4Sight – Using a dash cam will prove what happened if you have an accident but 4Sight has many more functions than your standard camera. It uses your phone’s motion sensors to detect impacts. If one happens, footage and your location is sent to an advisor who’ll send whatever help you need. Or, if you get lost or stuck, you can manually record to request help from an advisor. Find out more here.
  • Recovery service – Subscribing to a recovery service is fairly cheap, often less than £10 per month. It gives you peace of mind that should you not be able to get going someone will be able to help. It’s a lot cheaper than having to call them when you’ve already broken down, which can cost over £200! Use Money Saving Expert to find a good deal.

Prepare your winter kit

The weather in the UK is unpredictable at the best of times. Prepare for anything with a winter driving kit you can keep in the boot. You can pick these up from The AA, or put your own together.

We suggest you keep these essentials in the car:

  • Sunglasses – Ironic, but low winter sun dazzling drivers is a major factor in winter accidents
  • Snow shovel – especially if you live in an area that’s a high risk for snow
  • Ice scraper & de-icer
  • Phone charger / battery pack
  • Snacks and water
  • Screenwash
  • Torch
  • Booster cables

*You can win an AA Ultimate Winter Driving Kit in our competition! Head to Facebook or Twitter before 29th October to enter. T&Cs here.*

Have we missed anything? Is there another essential you wouldn’t leave home without in winter? Let us know!