Winter driving

Baby it's cold outside...

So, winter comes around, the heating goes on, the winter woollies come out of hibernation for another season, and there are also things you should check on your car as well to ensure a smoother ride when Jack Frost would try to scupper you

Firstly, make sure you do these basic checks on your car:

  1. When the windscreen is all iced up, make sure you clear it completely before setting off – an ice scraper is the best way to do this (so keep one in your car!).

  2. Make sure you check your lights are clean and working.

  3. Make sure your tyres have enough tread so they can grip the road properly.

  4. Check the pressure of your tyres.

  5. Make sure your windscreen wash and radiator have antifreeze in them.

  6. Change any worn windscreen wiper blades.

  7. Consider switching to winter tyres which grip the road better when the temperature drops.


Secondly, here are some tips for driving in wintery conditions:

  1. Reduce speed on slippery surfaces.

  2. Avoid harsh braking or acceleration.

  3. Allow up to 10 times the normal braking distance, especially on motorways.

  4. Use a higher gear to avoid spinning when starting off on or climbing hills.

  5. In a diesel car you can often climb slippery slopes or hills by putting the car into second gear, engaging the clutch slowly and let the engine run at idling speed – the car will climb slowly without use of the accelerator.


And finally, here's a check list of things to have in the car:

  1. Ice scraper

  2. Warning triangle

  3. Mobile phone

  4. Blanket

  5. Oil

  6. Jump cables

  7. Food and water

  8. Warm clothes

  9. Torch

  10. Spade

  11. First aid and pack

  12. Cat Litter

    sounds odd but it can help grip the road and get you out of trouble if you get stuck

  13. Maps

  14. Jack

  15. Spare tyre

  16. Puncture repair kit


Getting to grips with winter tyres:

  1. Winter tyres aren’t just for snow and ice – they work well on rain and slush and are better at stopping when the temperature goes below + 7°C.

  2. The rubber compound of a winter tyre is designed specifically to work in cold weather.

  3. Normal tyres harden at lower temperatures, reducing their grip on the road.

  4. Tests revealed that a vehicle fitted with winter tyres came to a standstill on a snow covered road after 35 metres (from a speed of just 30mph) – with normal tyres the braking distance required is a further 8 metres (43 metres) – that is another two car lengths.

  5. It is recommended that you fit winter tyres on your vehicle between October and March when average temperatures in the UK are below 7°C.