Cold, snow, ice – winter driving with hazardous roads can be a challenge. Be sure your car is ready to meet the conditions.
Winter driving tips
Winter conditions are the most challenging time of the year for driving. The extreme weather combined with the shorter days (particularly after the end of October when the clocks go back) make driving more hazardous.
There are more car breakdowns in winter than any other season so make sure your car is serviced and roadworthy.
In recent winters the conditions have been unusually severe, with more extreme periods of heavy snow and floods. You should try to avoid travelling in such adverse weather unless you feel you have no option.
Winterise your car
If you are unable to get your car a pre-winter service then at least make these checks:
- Lights are clean and working.
- The battery has a full charge.
- Windscreen wiper blades are clean.
- Windows are clean.
- The washer bottle is filled with screen wash, to the correct concentration to prevent it freezing.
- Tyre condition – tread depth and pressure of all tyres, including the spare.
- Brakes are working well. If the brakes need servicing, you must get someone who is qualified to service them.
- Antifreeze and oil – keep them topped up.
Hey did you know?
In 1968, 78 inches of snow in Thompson Pass, AK, USA in 24 hours. Taller than your average “tall” human!!
If you have to travel in adverse conditions
- Tell someone where you are going, and the time you expect to get there, this will allow them to raise the alarm if you do not arrive.
- Plan alternative routes in case your main choice(s) become impassable.
- Keep your fuel tank near to full to ensure that you do not run out.
Make sure you have a fully charged mobile (a car charger for the phone is also a good idea) to allow you to call for help or let someone know you will have a delay. If your mobile battery runs out, it could be a long walk to get assistance.
Keep an emergency kit for extreme weather in your car to include at least extra warm clothing and footwear, a torch, and some chocolate.
The Department for Transport (DfT) has directly linked 29 fatalities and more than 2,500 injuries to snow and ice whilst driving during an average UK winter. Be careful! Take care!