Winter plays havoc on UK roads with metronomic consistency, even though appearances from the often-threatened snow are few and far between.

With the conditions changing in a way that does not particularly suit cars or the roads, it is vital you’re prepared for the many winter motoring pitfalls.

Here are seven things you can do to ready yourself, and your vehicle, for the colder months.


Top up the antifreeze

Antifreeze comes into its own during the winter months, and it should comprise 50 per cent of your engine’s coolant along with water. Often, people make the mistake of topping up their engine coolant with water over the year, which can lead the coolant freezing in low temperatures – putting the engine at risk of overheating, which will cost a whole lot more to repair than the few pounds a bottle of antifreeze may set you back.


Be ready for a breakdown

The last thing you want to do during the winter is have your car breakdown, but it can happen, and you should be prepared. Make sure you have a shovel, an ice scraper, a torch, a hi-visibility jacket and a blanket.

Sure, our winters are never as snowy as we’re told, but you can’t be too careful.


Engine off? Electronics off.

A piece of advice that should apply to entire year, but is particularly pertinent during winter.

A car’s battery is particularly susceptible to suffering over the winter, and leaving on anything like the radio or heater on while you briefly stop to – for example – go to the shops, can drain the battery and leave you with a car that won’t start.


Keep driving

Speaking of your battery, your car will not enjoy long periods of sparse use during the cold months. Make sure the car gets regular use so long as the conditions are safe.


Wrap up with specialist winter rubber

If you are going to be using your car to commute over winter, winter tyres are a worthwhile investment.

Summer tyres do not perform as well in lower temperatures. Winter rubber is far more effective under braking, in the rainy conditions, and provides better steering in general when things get cold.

It may seem a costly investment, but it is one that could prevent you from coming unstuck.


Seek a professional check

As we head into the winter, garages start offering to check your car to ensure that everything is as it should be. These services are typically executed for a nominal fee, but can be a useful way to ensure that your car won’t let you down when you need it.


Take out a roadside assistance policy

Even without the added jeopardy of it potentially being below freezing temperature outside, not everyone is a mechanic. If something goes wrong during our harshest weather conditions, you could find yourself needing roadside assistance — which can become costly if you’re not covered under a policy.

Plenty of reputable, nationwide companies offer such policies, so shop around and see what’s right for you ahead of the winter.