Winter Driving Tips

November 13, 2013

With the first proper frost of the year casting its icy grip across most of the country today our thoughts have turned to how you can make sure you’re properly equipped for the worsening weather. With stopping distance increasing by 10 on icy roads and the chance of snow, low sun and the shorter, darker days disrupting your vision do you really know what you can do to improve your chances of having a safe journey? Stay with us to find out.

Ensuring Your Vehicle Is Ready For Winter

In an ideal world you would have your vehicle professionally serviced before the onset of every winter to ensure everything is working correctly and will be capable of enduring the harsh conditions. However, sometimes money or time restraints don’t allow you to do this. If you can’t have your automobile serviced then you should absolutely carry out your own set of checks. You will want to ensure that:

  • The windscreen, the washer blades, your washer fluid and all windows are clean and functioning properly.
  • Your battery is working and fully charged.tyre on icy road for winter driving tips article
  • Your brakes are responsive and that your brake fluid is properly filled.
  • Your lights are working correctly and are clean.
  • The tread depth, condition and pressure of all your tyres are proper.
  • That all your fluids are topped up such as washer fluid (with anti-freeze), oil and anti-freeze.
  • You are stocked up on anti-freeze, de-icer and oil.

Another precaution we recommend is the carrying of an emergency kit. If you were to be trapped out in the cold for an extended period of time would you have everything you needed available in your vehicle? What would you eat? Would you be warm enough? Here are some things we think are vital for any emergency kit.

  • Hazard warning triangle
  • Shovel
  • Blankets
  • A fully charged torch
  • A fully stocked medical kit
  • Emergency rations of high energy snacks and some form of liquid (preferably warm in a thermos flask)
  • A fully charged phone

Ensuring You Are Ready For Winter Driving Conditions

Here’s a question to ask yourself, do you really know how to drive in dangerous conditions? Do you have much experience of driving on icy roads? Would you know what to do in poor visibility? Winter driving courses are available nationwide, search ‘winter driving course uk’ for a good selection.

cars covered in snow for winter driving conditions articleAlways ensure that you are properly dressed for the chance of being stuck in cold conditions for an extended period of time before getting behind the wheel, you can never be sure when the weather might close in. Avoiding driving ill is also important. It is inevitable that as winter sets in some of us will catch the flu or a cold and struggle for a few days. It may surprise you to find out that driving when ill can be as bad as drink driving. Dulled reactions, drowsiness and poor vision can all be symptoms of a bad cold and can all severely affect your ability to drive. Also be cautious of driving on medication as some can make you drowsy.

How To Drive On Wet, Icy or Snowy Roads

Although the best advice we can give for how to drive during poor weather conditions is ‘not at all’ sometimes this just isn’t practical. If you absolutely HAVE to make the journey, despite the conditions, then you need to know how to deal with icy, snowy or wet roads. Make sure you:

  • Slow down! Poor weather conditions greatly increase your chance of skidding so you should always compensate for this. Avoid harsh acceleration or breaking, increase the distance between yourself and the car in front, and reduce your speed enough to handle corners.
  • Use your dipped headlights whenever you feel it is necessary to increase your visibility.
  • Remember that, although a road may look thawed, it is highly likely there will be patches of ice present somewhere along your route. This often occurs under bridges or in shadowed areas but can also occur in areas of direct sunlight so always be cautious.

We hope you find these tips useful and that you, most importantly, stay safe on those roads. If you have any winter driving tips that you think we may have missed why not drop them in the comments below?