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Cold Weather Commuting: Stay Safe with These Pro Tips

19 January 2024

As temperatures drop to below freezing for much of the country, with lows of -8C, navigating British roads becomes a chilly challenge. In this blog post, we'll delve into essential tips for driving in freezing conditions, with a special focus on de-icing your car to ensure a safe and comfortable journey.

Morning Ritual: Deicing Your Car:

Begin your morning routine a few minutes earlier to allow time for de-icing. Invest in a good quality ice scraper to efficiently remove frost from windows and mirrors.

Avoid using hot water to deice windows, as sudden temperature changes can cause the glass to crack. Opt for a de-icing spray or solution instead.

Winter Tires Matter:

Most drivers will get some safety benefit from fitting winter tyres because of the improved grip they provide in cold and wet conditions – they're not just for snow and ice. 

As an alternative to winter tyres, consider 'all-season tyres' which can be left on all year round.

Check tire pressure regularly, as it tends to drop in colder weather.

Prep Your Vehicle:

Check your vehicle's fluid levels, including antifreeze, to prevent freezing.

Switch to winter-grade windshield washer fluid that won't freeze in cold temperatures.

Ensure all lights are in working order, and replace any bulbs that may have burnt out.

Stopping distance

In bad weather conditions, remember that a car’s stopping distance will be longer. Also, if snow is falling heavily it will reduce how far ahead you can see, so you should drive more slowly and give yourself longer to react.

Secondly, braking distances can be doubled in wet conditions – and increased by at least 10 times on snow or ice.

Beware of Black Ice

Black ice is a thin layer of ice on the road surface that’s usually transparent. Because it's very difficult for drivers to see, it can be one of the biggest dangers of winter driving.

It’s important you know how to react if you hit a patch of black ice on the road. Black ice is caused by rain falling on frozen surfaces. It tends to form on parts of the road that don’t get much sun – tree-lined routes and tunnels – as well as on bridges, overpasses and the road beneath overpasses.

Monitor Weather Updates

Driving during bad weather should start with the basic question: do I need to leave the house?

If you can avoid driving when conditions outside are unpredictable and potentially dangerous, you should. And if you can plan around forecast weather warnings, you might be able to avoid the worst of it.

With temperatures dropping below freezing, ensure you plan your journey in advance and choose well-travelled routes that are more likely to be gritted and cleared of snow. 
Driving in these conditions means you need to take extra precautions, but with careful planning and preparation, you can navigate the frosty British roads safely. Make de-icing a crucial part of your winter driving routine, and remember that taking a few extra minutes to prepare can make a significant difference in your overall driving experience. Stay warm, stay safe!