Driver’s guide to safe winter travel

Shorter days, low light and bad weather make winter a hazardous time for UK drivers – you can reduce the risk by following this winter driving advice.

Did you know? Weather conditions are a contributing factor in 14% of all fatalities and serious injuries on UK roads according to National Highways data. The number of minor incidents and bumps also increase over winter.  That’s why it’s so important to make sure you are fully prepared for winter driving.

In this article we discuss ways to keep yourself safe when heading out on the road this winter.

Preparing your vehicle for winter

It goes without saying that your vehicle needs to be regularly serviced and maintained.

As the weather gets colder it’s also worth checking:

  • All lights are working – to ensure visibility in dark or foggy conditions
  • Tyre pressure and tread – for the best grip on the road
  • Wipers and screenwash – make sure you’ve added an anti-freezing agent to your wash bottle
  • Vehicle electrics and heating system – a must-have on those cold winter mornings

Your winter travel kit

Be prepared for whatever winter throws at you with these in-vehicle essentials:

  • Ice scraper
  • In-car phone charger
  • Warm gloves and hat
  • Blanket
  • Snow shovel
  • Sunglasses (for low winter light)
  • Water
  • Non-perishable food

Top tips for safe winter driving

1. Be prepared

Listen to the weather forecast before you travel. If ice and snow are forecast, travel on main roads as much as possible as these are likely to have been salted.

If weather warnings are in place, think carefully about travelling – do you really need to make the journey?

2. Allow extra time

Take time before you drive to remove ice and snow from your vehicle and allow windows to clear.

Remember, you may need to slow down in poor weather conditions, so your journey could take a little longer than usual.

3. Give other drivers plenty of space

In wet, icy or windy conditions, make sure you leave even more space than usual between you and the vehicle in front.

If heavy rain makes your steering feel light, ease off the accelerator to slow down.

4. Make sure you’re visible

If visibility is reduced, use your lights to make sure you can be seen by other road users.

When driving in fog, fog lights are better than full beam as the fog will reflect bright lights back to you.

In summary

Driving in winter can be hazardous but there a few things you can do to reduce the risks:

  • Make sure your vehicle is winter-ready by checking lights, tyres, wipers and electrics.
  • Carry winter essentials, including ice scraper, snow shovel, warm clothes and blanket, in-car phone charger, snacks and water.
  • Check the weather forecast before you travel and consider if your journey is really necessary where weather warnings are in place.
  • Leave extra time when travelling in poor weather conditions.
  • Stay alert to road conditions and leave additional space between you and the driver in front.
  • Use lights to improve visibility and ensure you can be seen by other road users.

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