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Driving Safely in Winter

Stay safe on the road in cold and icy weather by driving only when necessary.

Car driving in snow

Winter can be a magical time of year, but it also means darker mornings, earlier evenings, and freezing temperatures. These all make for hazardous driving conditions. The best way to stay safe when travelling on the road in adverse weather conditions is to avoid driving at all. However, for many people we recognise that is not always possible.

Being prepared and adjusting the way you drive, based on the conditions you are confronted with is the next best thing. Follow the tips below to make you winter journey safer.

What NOT to do

  • If possible, avoid driving in bad weather conditions like snow, heavy rain, ice, or fog.
  • Adjust your driving. Don’t break or accelerate to hard. Avoid sharp steering.
  • Never brake if the vehicle skids, instead, ease off the accelerator and steer slightly into the direction of the skid until you gain control.
  • Use lights accordingly – fog lights in foggy conditions, dipped headlights when visibility is reduced.

What TO do

  • Consider public transport
  • If you drive to work, try to make arrangements to work from home (particularly if you live in a rural area)
  • Check the weather forecast before you set off on your journey.
  • Pack a winter driving kit in case of an emergency. This might include a torch, a blanket and warm clothes, food and drink, first-aid kit, spade, warning triangle and high-visibility vest
  • Keep an ice scraper and de-icer in your vehicle
  • Always have a well-charged phone in case of any emergencies
  • Check your tyres to make sure they are in good condition and have a tread depth of at least 3mm
  • Make sure your windscreen washer is topped up regularly with screenwash. A premixed screenwash is an easy way to do this.
  • Monitor the fluid level in the coolant system and top up when required making sure you do not open the cap when the engine is hot.
  • Ensure your vehicle is well-maintained through an up-to-date MOT, regular services, and regular checks by yourself
  • Only travel at speeds at which you can stop within the distance you can see to be clear
  • Take corners slowly and steer gently and steadily to avoid skidding.
  • Maintain a safe space between you and the vehicle in front, increase it to as much as 10 times as you normally would

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