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6 Winter Driving Safety Tips

16 December 2022


Driving in winter in the UK can be challenging and many drivers may be intimidated to be on the roads this time of year. From dark nights to black ice, winter elements can make it difficult to get where you need to be. To help, we’ve shared our top tips for driving safely this winter!

What do I need to know about driving in the winter?

No matter how experienced of a driver you are, driving in winter can come with its difficulties that you should be aware of. In winter, it is more important than ever to regularly check your vehicle, as well as the road conditions. Icy roads, snow, and lack of natural light are just some elements of winter driving that can bring anxiety to drivers. Driving safely and confidently in winter means being prepared for the different situations that may arise. Stopping distances can be 10 times longer when road conditions are poor, which is why there are several measures you should take to stay safe this winter.  This guide will give you some tips to help you prepare for the main winter driving hazards. 

1. Keep your distance

Your stopping distance is likely to increase by up to 10 times during poor weather conditions. 

Driving too close to the vehicle in front of you can increase the risk of a crash as you simply won’t be able to break in time. Make sure you leave plenty of space in front of you, ideally about two car lengths, and always break slowly where possible.

3. Keep your fuel topped up

It might seem obvious, but always make sure you have enough fuel for your journey. Wintry conditions can reduce your vehicle’s fuel economy, so it’s a good idea to always keep your tank topped up.

If you are driving an electric vehicle, make sure to plan your journey so you won’t run out of charge. If you have a home charge point, this might mean charging up your car overnight so that it has a full battery in the morning.

5. Check your tyres

Your grip will be considerably reduced in winter, so you should always be checking your tires to make sure they have at least 3 mm of tread. Grip drastically begins to deteriorate below 3 mm, so make sure you keep an eye on them and replace them when necessary. 

You should also be checking your alloys too for any cracks or buckles, and getting them repaired or replaced should they need it. As damaged wheels can affect stability of your car in difficult conditions. 

2. Carry a breakdown kit

You should always keep an emergency kit in the boot, which includes a warning triangle, jack and essential first aid equipment. In winter, it’s advisable to keep some de-icer or an ice scraper, a blanket and some snacks in there, too. You might also want to keep any other items that are specific to your needs, just in case you do have to wait somewhere for assistance. 

4. Keep visible

Longer nights, heavy rain, freezing fog and snow can all reduce visibility dramatically, so it’s important to make good use of your car lights. If your car has daytime running lights or an automatic headlights function, it will work based on the level of light that it detects – so if visibility is reduced during the day due to fog, rain or snow, be sure to turn your lights on manually.

6. Take your time - Prepare for your journey

Make sure you have planned your journey with time to spare – so that you don’t feel the need to rush while getting from A to B.

If you expect to encounter wintry conditions, try to avoid B-roads and country lanes, as these are less likely to be cleared quickly in the event of snow. You are also more likely to encounter water or ice on these roads. Good preparation before you set off will ensure you can enjoy your drive and arrive safely at your destination. 

If the weather is especially bad and you are worried about a particular journey, consider taking someone with you, if possible. 

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