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Winter driving advice

Driving in adverse weather conditions offers many challenges for the motorist. However, there are steps you can take to make sure you are prepared to meet these challenges: vehicle care, preparing for your journey and safe driving tips.

Vehicle care

  • Make sure your vehicle has been serviced recently.
  • Check and replace the anti-freeze in the radiator.
  • Make sure the battery is fully charged. If the battery is not reliable then replace it. Most batteries last between two and four years.
  • Lights can get filthy with all the spray in winter. Keep them clean and check all the bulbs on a regular basis.
  • Check your tyres are correctly inflated to the manufacturers recommended pressure for your vehicle and its load.
  • Make sure tyres have plenty of tread. Replace tyres if the tread has reached the legal minimum. 
  • Keep your windscreen clean. Dirty windows and mirrors can make it hard to see in low winter sun and when visibility is reduced through spray. 
  • Add winter additive to the windscreen washer bottle and keep it topped up. 
  • Replace worn wiper blades.

Prepare for the journey

  • Check the local and national weather forecasts. 
  • Listen to local and national radio stations for up to date travel information. 
  • Keep lights, windows and mirrors clean and free from snow and ice. 
  • Tell someone at your destination what time you expect to arrive and what route you plan to take. 
  • Make sure you pack an 'emergency kit' in the boot of your car. 
  • Also carry sunglasses in the glove box to help you see in low winter sun.

When driving in winter conditions

  • Motorists should keep well back from the vehicle in front. 
  • Slow down and allow extra time to carry out manoeuvres. 
  • If steering becomes unresponsive it may mean water is preventing the tyres from gripping the road. Ease off the accelerator and slow down gradually. 
  • Rain and spray from vehicles may make it difficult to see and be seen, so motorists should reduce their speed and clearly indicate at roundabouts and junctions.

Emergency kit

It is worthwhile to pack an 'emergency kit' in the boot of your car during the winter months in case of breakdown or delay. The kit should include items such as:

  • ice-scraper
  • torch
  • warm clothes and a blanket
  • a pair of boots
  • a first aid kit
  • battery jump leads
  • a shovel for snow
  • food and drink
  • sunglasses to help see in low winter sun.

It is also advisable to make sure your mobile phone is fully charged before heading off on a journey.

Last updated: 16/08/2022 10:10

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