With temperatures dropping across South Africa most people ensure they are protected from the cold, but forget about their cars. Take note that your valuable asset also needs to be protected at this time of year.

Here are 5 tips to keep you safe and vigilant on the roads, and to ensure that you are not left stranded in the cold.

A clean windscreen – ensure that your windscreen, windows and mirrors are free from dust and grit because visibility is key when driving during the wintery months. You also need to ensure that your car’s windscreen wipers are in good working order, and it’s essential that you fill the windscreen washer reservoir with a good winter additive to avoid freezing.

Tyre tread and pressure – it is essential that your vehicle’s tyres are properly inflated and that plenty of tread groove depth is retained to assist in dispersing water and staying in control on slippery or hazardous roads.

Dealership check up – it is always a good idea to visit your local service centre/dealership for regular check ups, in addition to your annual service to ensure your vehicle is in tip-top condition. They can inspect your car’s battery, lights, safety system, etc. so that you can be rest assured that your car will be in good working order.

Prepare yourself – always ensure that your vehicle’s fuel tank is full before you take a long journey. Equip your vehicle with all the necessary items such as a first aid kit, jumper leads and a torch in case your vehicle breaks down. It is also advisable to save the number of your towing service in case you need assistance.

Hazardous conditions – winter weather brings many dangers for motorists, including rain and hail, flooding, and extremely cold temperatures, which can wreak havoc on road conditions. But one of the most threatening is slippery and hard-to-spot black ice, which is a thick layer of ice that forms on the road and makes it appear wet, not icy. Ice can also stop your tyres from getting a good grip, making steering and stopping difficult – many drivers don’t notice it until they lose control of their vehicle.