Top Tips To Get Your Horsebox Or Trailer In Perfect Condition For The WinterWinter 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 KitKeep 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 Asroadsurfacesbecomewet,vehicletractiondecreasesbyabouthalfandonice-coveredroads,tractioncanbealmostnil.Avoidanyabruptmanoeuvres. Sometowingvehicleshaveanti-lockbrakesyoumustusecontinualpressure;don'tliftupwhenthesebrakespulsate.Drivesmoothlyandsteadily.Slowdown wellbeforeenteringacurve.Whileapplyingbrakes,uselightandevenpedalpressure. Thislightapplicationshouldstillletthewheelsroll,soyoucanmaintain control.Ifthecurveisaconstantradius,keepyourspeedsteadythroughtheturn.Decreasing-radiusturnsrequirethatyouslowdownasyouproceed;these are the trickiest. Increasing-radius turns allow you to accelerate lightly as you exit them. Ice Expecticyconditionsanytime,althoughwaterfreezesat0˚C.Icecanformonroadswhentheoutsideairtemperaturereaches6˚Corlower.Animportant placetowatchforthisconditionisonbridges.Bridgesurfacesareexposedtothewindandcoolofffasterthantherestoftheroad. Youshouldalsopreparefor icy conditions on roads through shaded areas where a cold wind can freeze a wet road surface. Black Ice Blackice,clearwaterthathasfrozenonblacktarmac,usuallyformsbelowoverpasses,onbridges,andexposedareas.Blackicecommonlyoccursinlow, shaded areas and/or when the road surface starts to freeze at nightRain Thefirstfewminutesofaraincanbeextradangerousbecauseoftheslipperyroadsurfacecausedbyoilandrubberbuild-up;drivingisespeciallyhazardous untilthesurfacecontaminantswashaway.Rainalsomaycausehydroplaning,whichoccurswhenthetirescan'tchannelthewaterawayfastenough,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 Fogisusuallyfoundinlowplacesorareassurroundedbytrees,hillsormountains.Slowdownandturnonyourlow-beamheadlightswhereveryouencounter fog.Makesureyoucanstopwithinthedistancethatyoucanseeaheadclearly.Forspeedslessthan40mph,allowatleastonesecondoftraveltimebetween yourselfandthevehicleaheadforevery10feetofyourvehicle'slength. Atspeedsover40mphandespeciallyunderunfavourableweatherorroadconditions, add one more second to the total; as conditions worsen, increase your space ahead. Mud Anytimeyoudriveoff-roadwhenitiswetorafterithasbeenraining,prepareformud.Somesoiltexturescauseavehicletosink;otherswillmakethesurface likedrivingonice.Trytokeepyourvehiclemovingslowlyandsteadilyforwardingear.Ifyoufeelthewheelsstarttospinandlosetraction,letuponthe accelerator slightly. This should allow the wheels to regain traction. Ifyoustopinmudandtrytorestartquickly,youcoulddigthewheelsdeeperintothemud.Ifyoudogetstuckinmud,makesureyourfrontwheelsarepointed straightaheadanddon'tspinthewheels.Ifthisfails,placesometypeoffrictionmaterialunderthewheels-straw,carpet,stonesoranythingwitharough surface. Call for help if you can't free the vehicle with these techniquesWind Anticipatewindgustsbylookingforsignssuchastreemovements,dustorblowingsnoworleaves.Thebestadvicefordrivinginwindyconditionsistoslow down. When passing trucks, move slightly away from them whenever possible, as this reduces gust effects.Onelasttip:keepyourfueltankatleasthalffull–youdon’twanttogetstranded. Anotherreasonforafulltankisthatwarmdaytimetemperatureswillfillthe emptyspaceinthetankwithmoisture,whichwillcondenseduringacoldnight.Thiswaterwillsinktothebottomand,soonerorlater,rustoutyourtankorgive running problems when the level gets low.