Driving in Winter

Driving during the winter poses a number of challenges and risks, which means you’ll need to take extra time to prepare and plan for your journeys and ensure you are fully equipped before you hit the road.


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Winter Driving Safety


When it comes to driving during winter, one of the most important things to do is to plan ahead. Before you set off, there are a number of steps you should take before driving in your vehicle in the cold weather.


Plan your journey ahead of time – check local weather warnings, information on road closures, alternative routes to take in case your usual preferred route may not work etc. Even if you are taking routes you are familiar with, it’s still a good idea to keep an alternative route in mind in case traffic builds up or adverse weather conditions mean you can’t take your usual route.


Take some time out before your journey to de-ice your car and warm your car up and be sure not to set off until your windscreen is fully demisted. Be sure to check your tyres, wipers, and screen wash before you leave so that you are well equipped and prepared for your journey.


Set off a little earlier than usual to fill up your car with fuel – even if you are not going far and already have half a tank full, it’s still a good idea to fill it up just in case you end up stranded somewhere or are stuck in traffic for a while and have to find a different, longer route back home.



Driving tips in Winter


Driving on icy roads, or in adverse weather conditions, during the winter can be challenging. Here are some of our top tips on how you can ensure you are driving as safely as possible:


  • Wear comfortable footwear
  • Always move off and pull away gently in second gear to avoid wheelspin
  • Accelerate very gently using low revs
  • Maintain a safe stopping distance between cars in front of you
  • Leave plenty of room in front when preparing for an uphill climb so it’s easier to change gear whilst maintaining a good speed
  • Start braking before approaching a bend
  • Steer gently into a skid – do not remove your hands from the steering wheel or press your foot on the brakes
  • Make sure to use dipped headlights when driving in heavy snow, however if visibility drops below 100m then you should use your fog lights



Can I drive on winter tires all year?


It may seem like a convenient and good idea to keep your winter tyres on all year round to avoid the hassle of remembering to take them out and mount them just for the winter months.


However, this isn’t recommended, as in the long run it may actually end up costing you more money and could even adversely affect the way your vehicle performs on the road. Winter tyres are specifically designed for cold temperatures and icy weather conditions. So, once the weather gets warmer your tyres don’t actually need deep tread depths for traction. The flexible and pliable tread rubber of winter tyres is likely to wear down in warm weather when the road is hotter. It can also decrease your performance, as the softer tread of a winter tyre means you may not be able to make quick, swift manoeuvres.



Can you drive without coolant in winter?


It is never a good idea to drive anywhere without coolant. After a few miles, your engine will begin to overheat and may even cut out automatically, which many cars do to prevent heat damage to internal components. Even in the month of winter, it’s not a good idea to drive with low or no coolant, as it can cause serious damage to your car and lead to you being stranded on the side of the road with a car that isn’t running.



Driving motorcycles


Can you drive a motorcycle in winter? For motorcycle riders, there are a number of things you can do to ensure your safety on the road during winter. This can include wrapping up warm and layering up properly, making sure your battery is charged, adjusting, and lubing your motorcycle chain, checking your tyres, taking it slow on the road, and keeping your distance from other vehicles.



Driving motorhomes


Can you drive a motorhome in the winter? Yes, you can, but you will have to plan and prepare to ensure your journey will be as safe and smooth as possible. For starters, you will need to make sure you have the right tyres for a secure grip on the icy roads to prevent slipping and sliding. You should also plan for chilly overnight temperatures with built-in heating, but if your motorhome or campervan does not have this then you should bring a safe, portable heater.


Pack well for your journey – you never know what could happen on the road. Make sure you bring along an ice scraper, a pocket torch, a snow shovel, a set of jumper cables, work gloves for icy temperatures, a de-icer spray, a and a broom.



Towing trailers on winter roads


Towing trailers in the winter is not ideal, but there are some things that you can do to make it safer for you. As always, you should prepare your vehicle as well, as your trailer, before you set out on the road. You should also make sure that you have the right towing equipment to support your trailer in conditions that are snowy, icy, or wet.

Check the weight of your trailer and try to reduce it as much as you possibly can, as the more it weighs the more your stopping times will be affected.


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