Winter Driving: The Essentials

January 24, 2019

Admittedly the UK doesn’t experience Arctic or Alaskan winter conditions very often, but nor does it take a lot to create chaos throughout our transport system. Many people believe they’re all set for winter when they receive a good car service, however, we thought it would be useful for us to share our top tips on keeping safe on the road this winter that goes above and beyond having a healthy car.

Plan Your Journey

Driving during the winter season inevitably includes driving in stressful conditions such as the dark, fog, rain, snow and ice.  Unfortunately, most of us can’t ignore life’s daily commitments like work when the weather turns bad, so planning your route well before leaving is the best way to stay safe.  Making an effort to stay on main roads as much as possible will help – these are the first to be gritted and tend to be in the best condition with the volume of traffic higher than country roads. Keep an eye on the weather forecast and ensure the conditions will be drivable with care, always ensure someone knows where you are off to and when to expect you back.

Keep Your Car Maintained

One essential for ensuring you stay safe on the roads in cold icy conditions is ensuring your car is in tip-top condition. Good practice to ensure your car looks after you on the roads means checking your screen wash is full, your wiper blades are in good working order, your lights are working and your tyres are not damaged or have low tread – place a 20p coin in a ridge between the tread on your tyres and look at it from a level angle. If you can see most of the outer ring of the coin your tread is too worn down!

Keep Your Car Kitted Out

It pays to think ahead. Being prepared will always help you out in the event of adverse weather conditions should you be stuck in traffic or at the side of the road for some time. Keep an ‘essentials kit’ in the car including warm clothes such as; a hat, scarf, gloves, extra socks, blankets, jumpers and joggers and don’t forget you may get hungry so add long life snacks and bottled water to your kit to tide you over in short delays! Consider the likelihood of being stuck in a longer delay and think about also adding snow boots or wellies and a sleeping bag. A shovel and torch with batteries could help you out of a snowy situation if it’s safe to do so. Other things to take into consideration are a mobile phone charger, a first-aid kit, and a vehicle recovery number.

Drive Cautiously

Once you’ve followed the previous steps and finally get on the move, stay alert as the bad weather can creep up on you. Taking corners slower in icy, wet, snowy or even dark conditions will reduce accident risk. If you do hit an icy patch, ease off the accelerator slowly and gently steer into the direction of the skid until your tyres grip the road again. Always adapt your driving to suit conditions, leaving a larger gap between you and the vehicle in front is a must as stopping distances can be 10 times longer in adverse conditions. Always keep your windows clean and free of condensation or smears and allow more time to get to your destination, driving with caution will take more time, but it’s definitely the safest way to drive in wintry weather!

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