Winter driving guide

Winter Driving

We all know how unpredictable the British weather can be and how road conditions can change from day to day without warning, especially in the Winter.  We advise you to make an informed decision before travelling in severe conditions.

Here are a few tips to help keep you safe when driving in the Winter.

Check your vehicle

Ensure that your vehicle is well maintained and serviced:

  • Make sure the battery is fully charged.
  • Before each journey, ensure the lights, windows and mirrors are clean and free of ice and snow.
  • Check the windscreen washer level regularly and consider adding a winter additive.
  • Think about adding anti-freeze to the radiator.
  • Ensure that the tyres have the legal amount of depth and are. maintained at the correct tyre pressure.
  • Check that your wiper blades and lights are in good working order.

Plan ahead

Before setting out on your journey, take some time to plan your journey so that you can avoid any unnecessary risks to your safety:

  • Check the local and national weather forecasts.
  • Listen to the local and national travel information.
  • Tell someone at your destination what time you expect to arrive.
  • Ensure your vehicle is clear of ice or snow and the windows are clean.
  • Make sure you carry a winter safety kit that includes torch, hi-vis vest, de-icer and a screen scraper.

Check your driving

Consider your driving style.  If the roads are icy or slushy, the speed limit is not something to aim for, always consider your safety and the safety of other road users:

  • It can take ten times longer to stop in icy conditions than on a dry road. Allow extra braking distance between your vehicle and the vehicle in front to slow down and stop.
  • Avoid harsh braking and acceleration.
  • Take care to manoeuvre gently.
  • Use the highest gear possible to avoid wheel spin.
  • If you start to skid, ease off the accelerator but avoid sudden braking.
  • To avoid locking your wheels, allow your speed to fall and use the brake pedal gently.

When you need assistance

If you need assistance because your vehicle has broken down or you have simply lost your way, remember the following:

  • Try to stop somewhere safe, ensure your hazard lights are on, and stay with your vehicle until help arrives. Abandoned vehicles can hold up rescue vehicles.
  • If you have to leave your vehicle to get help, make sure you are visible to other road users by carrying a torch (pointed to the ground) and/or wearing a hi-vis safety vest.
  • Never use your mobile phone whilst driving. If you need to make a call, pull over somewhere safe or ask a passenger to make the call.
  • If you are on a motorway, it is best to use a roadside emergency telephone, the breakdown/emergency services will be able to locate you easier.
  • If you have to use a mobile phone, make sure you know your location from the numbers on the posts on the side of the hard shoulder.

             Driving in the dark

Read on for more information on safe driving in the dark:

  • Use your lights appropriately. Regularly check your lights are in good working order to ensure you’re always clearly visible to other vehicle users.
  • Keep windows clean. Check and take time to clean them before setting off.  Windows are susceptible to steaming up on the inside, especially when it’s cold, this, and the fact that air heaters can blow dirty air at the glass, can cause a hazy film to build up on the inside which can increase glare from other vehicles.
  • Don’t look directly at the headlights of oncoming vehicles. The glare can temporarily impair your vision which could cause you to lose your bearings.
  • Take extra care when driving around residential areas. Children, cyclists and animals are at increased risk when it’s dark. Keep your speed down and always be on your guard for any unexpected movements.
  • Don’t drive when tired. Seasonal changes can affect your sleep patterns. Driving tired makes you a danger on the road, if you start to feel drowsy, stop and take a break.


Winter driving guide