Cold, snow, ice – winter driving with hazardous road conditions can be a challenge. It is the most important time of the year to make sure your car is properly prepared, for you to stay safe and avoid a breakdown.
Winter driving tips
Winter conditions are the most challenging time of the year for driving. 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. Make sure your car is serviced and roadworthy.
In recent winters the conditions have been especially severe, with more extreme periods of heavy snow and floods.
When the conditions are extreme you should not drive! Only do so if you have no other option should you consider doing so.
Winterize your car
Get your car a full service before winter sets in. If you are unable to do this, then at least do these checks:
- Lights are clean and working.
- Battery is fully charged.
- 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.
If you have to travel in bad conditions
- Tell someone where you are going and the time you expect to arrive. 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 be delayed. 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. This should include at least extra warm clothing and footwear, a torch, and some chocolate.