The winter months are a dangerous time for drivers, with adverse weather conditions and cold temperatures making serious accidents a risk, even if motorists actually behave less responsibly in the summer.
Taking the proper precautions when driving in cold weather is especially sensible if you are bringing your kids along with you for the ride. Here are 5 tips to help make the experience as smooth and seamless as possible.
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Perform Safety Checks
When there is a high likelihood of ice, rain, snow, sleet and fewer hours of sunlight, your preparations ahead of a long car journey should put safety at the top of the agenda.
Make sure that you tyres are properly inflated, that the amount of tread exceeds legal minimums, that you have topped up your screen wash to keep your windscreen clear of dirt and that you do not take any risks while behind the wheel.
Adhere To Laws
Whatever the weather, it pays to remember to avoid any issues with your car that might get you in trouble with the police. If you have a private reg, for example, your number plate needs to represent this accurately as errors could result in a fine. This is also important given the increased use of Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) which is used to detect and tackle criminal activity.
Sticking to the speed limit and anticipating the road ahead will also set you on the right track to a safe, uninterrupted winter trip with the kids.
Select Winter Tyres
If you want to take safety even further, you could swap out your tyres for a winter-ready set that offer increased traction. This may seem like overkill in the UK, where serious snowfall only occurs sporadically each winter, but if safety is a priority and you are willing to foot the bill, then going this extra step might well be an acceptable option.
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Plan For Problems
Even with your car in tip-top condition, driving in the winter comes with risks that are entirely out of your control. An unexpected breakdown or heavy snowfall that leaves you stranded can be disastrous, especially if it is very cold.
Keeping you and your kids warm and safe in such scenarios is imperative, so always bring extra clothing that will protect everyone from the elements. Stock up on food and water to keep in your boot for emergencies and also invest in a safety beacon which can both indicate your position to rescuers and alert other drivers to your presence if you are forced to pull over on a public road.
Planning ahead and packing your car appropriately for the season is always a good idea. Keep a first aid kit in your glove box to deal with minor injuries and bring a charging adaptor for your mobile phone so if the battery runs flat you can bring it back to life and call for assistance.
This is a great piece of advice for any road trip with kids involved, but makes even more sense in the winter when there might not be much for the little ones to look at out of the window, with bleak landscapes and dark skies doing little to engage their imaginations.
A cheap Android tablet is one of the best options for in-car entertainment that is child-friendly and fairly adaptable. You can pick up kid-oriented tablets with sturdy designs which are capable of coping with the wear and tear they might face in the hands of a youngster, or opt for a second hand model that is moderately modern yet comes at a more affordable price point.
The benefit of choosing a tablet or other tech as your option for keeping the kids entertained is that it can cater to almost every conceivable preference for portable fun. Whether they want to watch movies, play games or listen to music and audiobooks, a tablet will be able to handle all of this.
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