From the soaring temperatures of summer to the bitter cold of winter, every season has its downsides when it comes to driving and learning how to cope with the adverse weather conditions we experience all year round in this country is part and parcel of being a responsible driver. During winter, UK roads are particularly troubling, with the ice, snow, rain, fog, strong winds and low sunshine all meaning that we need to up our games in the road safety department.
As a leading provider of motoring services, our team is often approached for advice about winter driving, so as the weather turns cooler and the dark nights draw in we thought we’d dedicate this post to just that. Read on to discover our top five winter motoring tips.
Winterproof those car checks
The saying “prepare for the worst and hope for the best” has never been truer with winter driving, and ensuring that your vehicle is ready for the difficult conditions is important. Adapt your usual car checks to your winter requirements by paying special attention to your vehicle’s antifreeze coolant levels, lights, tyres, and door locks and seals (which can freeze shut without the right care).
Research shows that you are more likely to suffer vehicle breakdown during winter so rule out the most common cause of breakdown by calling on a professional to check your battery, replacing it if necessary.
Take care when driving in the winter sun
During the winter months, it’s not just ice and snow that can create issues, the dazzling sun is also cause for concern. When completing car checks make sure that your windscreen is clean, both inside and out, and use a good quality screen wash for cleaning on the go.
Prepare yourself and your passengers
So your vehicle is prepared, but what about you and your passengers? There are essentials that should be carried in your vehicle throughout the year, such as a fully charged mobile, in-car charger, sunglasses, medication, first aid kit and road atlas, to ensure instances like vehicle breakdowns, increased glare, minor injuries and losing your way can be dealt with efficiently. When winter comes along there are a few more items that might come in handy. A thick blanket, snow shovel, ice scraping tool, de-icer, torch with spare batteries, sugary snacks and extra screen wash should all form part of your winter kit.
Adapt your driving to the snow and ice
Driving with the weather conditions in mind is even more important during the winter months, as the likelihood of encountering snow, ice and frost on the road is even higher. There are a few tips and tricks that can make your driving particularly winter friendly. Reducing your speed is a great way to lower the risk of skidding, whilst managing your speed more smoothly and avoiding hard braking, harsh acceleration and sharp steering will ensure you can handle conditions with thought and care, not pressure and panic.
Be sure to increase the distance between your vehicle and the vehicle in front, as you may need up to ten times the normal stopping distance in snowy and icy conditions.
Beware of the rain too
Flooding is a common occurrence in winter, meaning drivers don’t just have snow and ice to contend with, and aquaplaning – travelling too fast due to the presence of surface water on the roads – is a major problem. Remember that driving in rainy weather requires twice the normal stopping distance, and use your windscreen wipers, washers and dipped headlights to ensure a safe ride for you and your fellow road users.
When driving on flooded roads, be cautious about the water’s depth and avoid crossing if you suspect that the water is too deep, looking for an alternative route instead.