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Top Tips for Driving in Winter


Tyres. Ensure your tyres are inflated correctly and that you have sufficient tread on your tyres.

In winter, the battery will run down quicker. Make sure you do a regular long journey to top it up.

Engine. Modern engines are more robust than older ones. All the same, depress the clutch when starting the vehicle as this will reduce drag on the engine and preserve the battery.

Screenwash. Keep this topped up and use an additive at the right concentration to prevent it freezing.

Fuel. Keep your tank topped up – that way if you are caught out, you'll have enough fuel to make it home or run the engine to keep warm. 

Windows. Clear all snow and ice from the windscreen before driving. Do not use water to de-ice windscreens. Hot water can crack the glass, and the water will only freeze again on the screen or on the ground where you are standing.

Locks. A squirt of WD-40 will prevent your door locks freezing up.

Snow Kit. Always pack the following: ice scraper, warm coat, hat, gloves, sturdy boots, a blanket to keep you warm if you get stuck. Take some food, water and a hot drink if you can. Always carry a fully charged mobile and some old bits of carpet, or cat litter, to put under the tyres if they get stuck and a shovel to clear snow.


  • When driving in snow, get your speed right – not too fast so that you risk losing control, but not so slow that you risk losing momentum when you need it.
  • Start gently from stationary, avoiding high revs. If you get yourself into a skid the main thing to remember is to take your foot off the pedals and steer.
  • Only use the brake if you cannot steer out of trouble.

  • Double or even triple your normal stopping distance from the vehicle in front. 

  • If your vehicle has ABS it will not give you the same control in very slippery conditions. Do not rely on it.
  • Plan your journey around busier roads as they are more likely to have been gritted. Avoid using shortcuts on minor roads – they are less likely to be cleared or treated with salt.
  • In falling snow use dipped headlights or foglights to make yourself visible to others. As conditions improve make sure your foglights are only on if necessary as they can dazzle other drivers.
  • Stay in a higher gear for better control, and if it is slippery, in a manual car move off in a higher gear, rather than just using first.
  • On a downhill slope, reduce your speed before you start the descent, and do not let it build up.
  • On motorways, stay in the clearest lane where possible, away from slush and ice.

Be safe :-)