Winter Driving Tips
18 February, 2015
Winter is the season that requires the most care and attention when it comes to driving. Road conditions can be challenging, with snow and ice causing major disruption, and breakdowns are almost twice as common during cold months than at other times of the year. With the dark, wintery months upon us, we compiled a list of some general tips to help ensure you stay safe this winter season.
Before you head out
Late into the cold months, ice becomes a big factor for drivers. Be ready to leave around 10 minutes earlier than usual to give yourself time to prepare the car, including de-icing the windscreen. Make sure you clear all of the windows on your vehicle, using a scraper and de-icer to help. Try to plan your route using as many major roads as possible, which are more likely to have been cleared and gritted.
Driving in bad weather
The key to safe driving in snow and ice is sticking to gentle manoeuvres, remembering that stopping distances in these conditions can be up to 10 times longer. Although you may have warm snow boots or wellies on, try to swap into dry, comfortable shoes for driving to minimise the chance that boots will slip on the pedals.
Maintain clear visibility
It is important to ensure that your windscreen is kept clean during winter months, to prevent anything from obstructing your line of vision. Always remember to clear snow from the roof of your car, to prevent it shifting and obscuring your windscreen. Make sure that bulbs are working and lenses are clean, as you must use headlights when visibility is reduced.
Prevention is key
If you know that there are aspects of your engine that may be on their last legs, it is worth addressing this before the cold weather kicks in. Batteries in particular rarely last longer than five years, so it is worth replacing an old one before it dies to save you a lot of potential time and inconvenience. If the engine doesn’t start quickly, use the starter in short five second bursts, allowing a 30 second break between attempts to let the battery recover.
As the bad weather closes in, make sure you prioritise your safety over punctuality, and expect the unexpected when it comes to weather-related delays to your journey. Making the effort to follow these few simple steps is a great way to help ensure you stay safe this winter, and prevent any unnecessary trouble on the roads.