Winter Driving Advice

Winter Driving Advice

Thursday 27th Jun 2019

As the cold weather creeps in this January, we want to make sure your prepared for different driving conditions…

Make sure you adapt your driving for different conditions: In the wet, fog and ice keep well back from the car in front and always drive slower in the dark.

  • Take extra care in bad weather – stopping distances double in wet weather, and are even longer in ice and snow.
  • In snow or bad weather conditions, avoid driving altogether if you can.
  • Plan your route before you set off and check the latest weather forecast.
  • Watch out for other road users like pedestrians, cyclists and horses, who may be harder to see in bad weather. 
  • Try not to brake, accelerate or manoeuver quickly to keep control of your vehicle.
  • If you skid, ease off the accelerator but don’t brake suddenly. 

Maintain your vehicle: During the winter months it's always advised to make sure your wipers and lights are in good working order and your battery fully charged.

  • Check your tyres are in good condition and have a tread-depth of at least 3mm.
  • Add anti-freeze to your radiator and your windscreen washer bottle.
  • Keep an ice-scraper and de-icer in your vehicle at all times. 
  • Make sure your windscreen is completely clear before you set off so you can easily spot any hazards on the road. 

Be prepared: Most journeys will be straight-forward and you don't need to worry but it's always best to make sure you and your family are safe in the event of being stranded by having a grab bag in the boot of your vehicle. Your emergency bag can contain:

  • a torch
  • a blanket/warm clothes
  • food and drink
  • a spade
  • reflective jacket/vest
  • a phone charger

What to do if you get stuck:

  • If you are stuck, it is recommended that you turn your wheels from side to side to push the snow out of the way.
  • Do not try to keep moving if the wheels spin - it will only dig you in deeper.
  • Use a shovel to clear snow out of the way.  Pour cat litter, sand or gravel in front of the wheels to help get traction.
  • Shift from forward to reverse and back again.  Give a light touch on the accelerator until the vehicle gets going.
  • If you can't move your car, you can stay warm by running the engine.  However, it is vital that the exhaust pipe is not blocked by snow as highly toxic carbon monoxide gas could enter the car.
  • If there is any risk the fumes can come into the car, do not run the engine.  Even if it is safe, do not run the engine for more than 10 or 15 minutes in each hour.  If need be, open a window.
  • If help is less than 100m distance, stay in your car.  If you do leave your vehicle, be aware that it is easy to get disorientated in heavy snowfall.
  • In your car, keep moving to maintain body circulation and put on as many clothes as possible.  Avoid overexertion as cold weather puts added strain on the heart.
  • If possible, alert friend, family or colleagues to your situation and location.  If conditions do not improve consider calling your breakdown provider or the emergency services.