Tips for driving in the winter

You should always drive safely according to the weather conditions, regardless of whether the road has been gritted or not.

Preparing your vehicle

  • Clear the windscreen and all windows of frost and ice.
  • Don’t set off until the heater has demisted all the inside glass.
  • Carry a de-icer spray in the vehicle. Stop (in a safe place) and use it if necessary.
  • Add low temperature screen wash to the water bottle.
  • Check that all lights and indicators are working and clean.
  • Make sure all the tyres have a good tread depth (the legal minimum is 1.6mm) and are at the correct pressure. Don’t forget to check the spare tyre.
  • Check that the battery is in good condition, as most winter breakdowns are electrical.

Your journey

  • Give yourself time to prepare your vehicle before setting off.
  • Set off earlier to allow for slower speeds, possible hold-ups due to accidents and possible single lane traffic on dual carriageways due to snow.
  • Keep a longer gap than usual to the vehicle in front, especially when there is ice or snow on the roads.
  • Brake and accelerate more gently on wet, snowy or icy surfaces.
  • Use your dipped headlights in mist, fog, falling snow or heavy rain.
  • Use your rear fog-lights in fog, mist or falling snow and turn them off as soon as conditions allow. You must not use your rear fog-lights in rain.
  • Driving in adverse conditions can be extremely tiring, so be prepared to take extra breaks during your journey.
  • Ensure you have ‘outside’ clothing with you in case you have to get out of your vehicle.
  • Watch out for vulnerable road users- you share responsibility for their safety.