Winter Tips
“Safe Hands in a Crisis”
The Organisation of Horsebox & Trailer Owners        Tel: 01488 657651    Fax: 0844 8546681
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Top Tips To Get Your Horsebox Or Trailer In Perfect Condition For The Winter Winter opens up a host of different equine opportunities. Cross-country events, novice shows and qualifiers for Winter Championships. Although the driving conditions can be a bit trickier, using your car and trailer in winter can be safe and fun if you follow a few common-sense safety tips. Have a mechanic check the following items on your vehicle: Battery Antifreeze Wipers and windshield washer fluid Ignition system Thermostat Lights Flashing hazard lights Exhaust system Heater Brakes Oil level (if necessary, replace existing oil with a winter grade oil or the SAE 10w/30 weight variety) Make sure your tyres have adequate tread. All-weather radials are usually adequate for most winter conditions. However, some European jurisdictions require that to drive on their roads, vehicles must be equipped with chains or snow tires with studs. Keep a windshield scraper and small broom for ice and snow removal. Maintain at least a half tank of fuel during the winter season. Plan long trips carefully. Listen to the radio or call the state highway patrol for the latest road conditions. Always travel during daylight and, if possible, take at least one other person. Dress warmly. Wear layers of loose-fitting, layered, lightweight clothing. Carry food and water. Store a supply of high energy "munchies" and several bottles of water. Winter Vehicle Kit Keep these items in your vehicle: Spare Mobile Phone Charger Flashlights with extra batteries First aid kit with pocket knife Necessary medications Several blankets Sleeping bags Extra newspapers for insulation Plastic bags (for sanitation) Matches Extra set of mittens, socks, and a wool cap Rain gear and extra clothes Small sack of sand for generating traction under wheels Small shovel Small tools (pliers, wrench, screwdriver) Booster cables Set of traction mats Cards, games, and puzzles Brightly coloured cloth to use as a flag Canned fruit and nuts Can opener Bottled water   Traction As   road   surfaces   become   wet,   vehicle   traction   decreases   by   about   half   and   on   ice-covered   roads,   traction   can   be almost   nil.   Avoid   any   abrupt   manoeuvres.   Some   towing   vehicles   have   anti-lock   brakes   you   must   use   continual pressure;   don't   lift   up   when   these   brakes   pulsate.      Drive   smoothly   and   steadily.   Slow   down   well   before   entering   a curve.   While   applying   brakes,   use   light   and   even   pedal   pressure.   This   light   application   should   still   let   the   wheels   roll, so   you   can   maintain   control.   If   the   curve   is   a   constant   radius,   keep   your   speed   steady   through   the   turn.   Decreasing- radius   turns   require   that   you   slow   down   as   you   proceed;   these   are   the   trickiest.   Increasing-radius   turns   allow   you   to accelerate lightly as you exit them. Ice Expect    icy    conditions    any    time,    although    water    freezes    at    0˚C.        Ice    can    form    on    roads    when    the    outside    air temperature   reaches   6˚C   or   lower.   An   important   place   to   watch   for   this   condition   is   on   bridges.   Bridge   surfaces   are exposed   to   the   wind   and   cool   off   faster   than   the   rest   of   the   road.   You   should   also   prepare   for   icy   conditions   on   roads through shaded areas where a cold wind can freeze a wet road surface. Black Ice Black   ice,   clear   water   that   has   frozen   on   black   tarmac,   usually   forms   below   overpasses,   on   bridges,   and   exposed areas. Black ice commonly occurs in low, shaded areas and/or when the road surface starts to freeze at night Rain The   first   few   minutes   of   a   rain   can   be   extra   dangerous   because   of   the   slippery   road   surface   caused   by   oil   and   rubber build-up;    driving    is    especially    hazardous    until    the    surface    contaminants    wash    away.    Rain    also    may    cause hydroplaning,   which   occurs   when   the   tires   can't   channel   the   water   away   fast   enough,   causing   them   to   start   running   on top of the water instead of on the road. Traction will be lost and a skid is likely unless you slow down. Fog Fog   is   usually   found   in   low   places   or   areas   surrounded   by   trees,   hills   or   mountains.   Slow   down   and   turn   on   your   low- beam   headlights   wherever   you   encounter   fog.   Make   sure   you   can   stop   within   the   distance   that   you   can   see   ahead clearly.   For   speeds   less   than   40   mph,   allow   at   least   one   second   of   travel   time   between   yourself   and   the   vehicle   ahead for   every   10   feet   of   your   vehicle's   length.   At   speeds   over   40   mph   and   especially   under   unfavourable   weather   or   road conditions, add one more second to the total; as conditions worsen, increase your space ahead. Mud Any   time   you   drive   off-road   when   it   is   wet   or   after   it   has   been   raining,   prepare   for   mud.   Some   soil   textures   cause   a vehicle   to   sink;   others   will   make   the   surface   like   driving   on   ice.   Try   to   keep   your   vehicle   moving   slowly   and   steadily forward   in   gear.   If   you   feel   the   wheels   start   to   spin   and   lose   traction,   let   up   on   the   accelerator   slightly.   This   should allow the wheels to regain traction. If   you   stop   in   mud   and   try   to   restart   quickly,   you   could   dig   the   wheels   deeper   into   the   mud.   If   you   do   get   stuck   in   mud, make   sure   your   front   wheels   are   pointed   straight   ahead   and   don't   spin   the   wheels.   If   this   fails,   place   some   type   of friction   material   under   the   wheels   -   straw,   carpet,   stones   or   anything   with   a   rough   surface.   Call   for   help   if   you   can't   free the vehicle with these techniques Wind Anticipate   wind   gusts   by   looking   for   signs   such   as   tree   movements,   dust   or   blowing   snow   or   leaves.   The   best   advice for   driving   in   windy   conditions   is   to   slow   down.   When   passing   trucks,   move   slightly   away   from   them   whenever possible, as this reduces gust effects. One   last   tip:   keep   your   fuel   tank   at   least   half   full   –   you   don’t   want   to   get   stranded. Another   reason   for   a   full   tank   is   that warm   daytime   temperatures   will   fill   the   empty   space   in   the   tank   with   moisture,   which   will   condense   during   a   cold   night. This   water   will   sink   to   the   bottom   and,   sooner   or   later,   rust   out   your   tank   or   give   running   problems   when   the   level   gets low.