What advice can you give me about winter driving?

Despite everyone's best efforts, winter weather can still make roads treacherous and there is no guarantee that roads will always be completely free of ice and snow. The key to safer driving this winter is to make sure you and your vehicle are fully prepared and to make sure you always drive with due care for the weather and condition of the roads.

Defrosting your car

When defrosting your car, never leave it unattended while your key is in the ignition. It takes just a matter of seconds for you to become a target. 

Winter driving advice

Before you set off:

  • check the local weather forecast and traffic reports;
  • plan your route, allow for extra travelling time and consider alternative routes if practical
  • check your car battery, lights, indicators, windscreen wipers and washers and coolant level
  • make sure your windscreen and all windows are clear and unobstructed
  • make sure your tyres have the correct pressure and are in good condition with at least 3mm of tread
  • avoid travelling in severe weather conditions unless your journey is essential

Tips for safer winter driving:

  • keep a safe stopping distance at all times. It can take ten times longer to stop in ice and snow
  • avoid harsh braking and sudden acceleration; this could lead to skidding
  • if visibility is poor during the day due to heavy rain, snow, fog or mist, use dipped headlights. If visibility is seriously reduced, use rear fog lights, but remember to turn them off when visibility improves so as to not dazzle other road users
  • drive in the highest gear possible in icy conditions to avoid wheel spin
  • do not drive in flooded areas or places where ice could be covering water
  • watch out for motorcyclists, cyclists, pedestrians and horse riders – they can be difficult to see in bad conditions
  • try your brakes after driving through deep water, braking lightly will help to dry them out
  • always give our gritters and snow ploughs plenty of room, be patient and don’t follow too closely behind

Parking your vehicle during winter

If you park your car on a main road or gritting route during winter, please make sure it's not causing an obstruction. Blocked roads could mean we are unable to grit or grit that road and could also mean your vehicle is at risk of damage if our gritters have to manoeuvre around your vehicle.

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