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Driving 6 - Winter Operation



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At the beginning of winter, one can get any number of valuable tips, what one should have in case of an emergency, e.g., a canister of anti-frost for the windscreen washer. Perhaps also a reserve fuel canister. This sounds almost like going on an expedition. If you ask me, I would suggest always having an average of four liters of windscreen washer in the washer-reservoir and also, that you fill up in good time, this way you can spare yourself a lot of bother.

All together, the tips add up to about 60 kgs of weight. Which tips are nowadays, not coupled with the intention of selling something? I would concentrate on the person and not put the focus on the car. Independent of your driving destination, it can happen at any time, that you only want to use a short stretch of the motorway and are stuck there for hours. Once it starts to get cold in the car, you'll know exactly what you should have with you.

Warm blankets won't do any harm at all. And a thermos-flask full of hot tea or coffee would be pure luxury. Although admittedly, who would take the trouble to make a pot of tea or coffee for an assumed relatively short trip? If it should simply be something to drink, a permanently stored bottle of mineral water will do the trick. Indeed, take care not to have water in a glass bottle, it will shatter if it freezes.

Now, what about the car? If you want my opinion, at this point I would suggest a limited legal contravention. Do you have a car without a spare- or emergency-wheel? In this case, for certain long trips in winter, I would take along a summer tyre and in summer, a winter tyre. This will really ease your mind. Of course, you're not allowed to mount these tyres and this should only be done on the rear axle and for the purpose of carefully driving to the next tyre-repair workshop.

What else should one have in the car? A lot depends on your own talents, or those of your passengers. A tow-rope is really not very heavy and it can be easily stowed. We're not talking about a breakdown, but it can also be used to pull the car out of a snowdrift. A jump-start cable is sensible, indeed, it means that you need the cooperation of another motorist. Thanks to the anti-theft systems in modern cars, one can no longer tow the car if the battery is flat.

Now, what about tools for longer distances? I find that a length of 1,5 mm˛ cable (for 220V) can be very useful. It is plastic-cased, very strong and thus, well suited, not only as a spare electric cable. Apart from a roll of adhesive tape, I can't think of much else, except of course, a set of tools, in fact, they could be permanently on board.

There are, by the way, two reasons, why a practical roll-up- or zip-up toolbag makes sense. Firstly, it does not move around when cornering and braking and secondly, in one of these toolbags one can see straight away if something's missing. Indeed, it can only be useful if it's always in the car.

If ever you need a tool in the houshold, don't ever take it from the toolbag in the car. If a minor repair is necessary on the road and you need a certain tool, you can be sure that precisely that tool will be somewhere at home, where it won't help you at all. The emphasis here, by the way, is on the word 'minor'. Anyone who still believes, that they can repair a fault with the help of layman-like actionism, to get to the next workshop, is nearly always making a grave error. Even the motorway breakdown services will carefully decide, whether an attempt to repair the fault makes sense, or whether the wiser choice would be to call in a tow-truck. 01/14


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