Winter driving tips
Our top tips for winter driving
Winter driving can be dangerous, but it is easy to stay safe by following these top tips we’ve put together for you.
Checks to make before leaving
Check local traffic reports
Thoroughly defrost windows before setting off, but don’t be tempted to throw hot water over them, as they may crack or even shatter – in which case you will be going nowhere fast.
Even if the screen doesn’t crack, the water will soon freeze again in cold weather anyway – giving you the same problem further away from home.
Warm air is best for clearing windows from the inside.
Before leaving home, let someone know your intended destination and the route you plan to travel. Check your sat nav is working or, if you are using a map, plan the route in advance.
Be careful driving in snow
Before you set off, clear all windows and lights of snow and ice. Also clear the roof, bonnet and boot of snow, which could be blown into your line of vision as you drive in the winter conditions.
If you are caught in a snow flurry or torrential rain, travel slowly and use dipped headlights. Take regular breaks and remain calm – it’s better to avoid an accident and arrive later than planned.
Avoid erratic acceleration and steering, and bear in mind that you may need up to 10 times the usual stopping distance on icy roads.
Drive defensively in foggy conditions, keep your fog lights on at all times and turn your radio off and wind down your window to listen out for traffic – especially at junctions.
Try not to ‘follow’ other drivers’ brake lights as you will be greatly reducing your stopping distance.
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) advises that when driving in wintery weather, you: ‘Slow down in plenty of time for bends and corners. Black ice, caused when rain freezes on the road surface, will make your steering feel light. Respond by easing off the accelerator and being delicate with your steering movements.
‘To brake on ice and snow without locking your wheels, get into a low gear earlier than normal, allow your speed to fall and use your brakes gently.’
If you live in a remote area where you experience frequent periods of severe cold weather, it may be worth considering winter tyres.
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