Safe Winter Driving

How to stay safe on the road

It is that time of the year when road conditions can be at there most treacherous. The following are some safety tips that will help prepare you for the journey ahead this winter.

First of all you need to make sure your vehicle is in good condition. P.O.W.E.R

  • PETROL/DIESEL - Keep plenty of fuel in your vehicle in case you get stuck

  • OIL - Check the level

  • WATER - Enough Coolant and the correct type/concentration

  • ELECTRICS - Everything works, Lights, Wipers, ABS, Traction control, Heater, Charger for mobile etc

  • RUBBER - Tyres including spare, Wiper blades, door seals.


  • If possible fit winter tyres.

  • Check all your tyres (spare also) have at least 3mm of thread depth as this helps with grip on wet roads, as tyre performance drops rapidly nearer the 1.6mm legal thread depth.

  • Check all tyres for cuts or bulges and the air pressures.


  • Check you have the correct concentration of coolant as it has a vital job to prevent corrosion and freezing.


  • Batteries are the most common causes of breakdowns in winter.

  • Check the terminals are clean and tight.

  • Batteries are recommended to be replaced around 5 years old.


  • Make sure they are in good condition and clean them and the window of ice before you try to use them.

  • If wipers are stuck to the window in freezing conditions or are used to remove ice from the window they will be damaged.

Screen wash

  • Make sure it is to the correct winter concentration.

  • Keep a spare jar in the boot.


  • Use rain repellents to keep the windows clearer for longer.

  • Do Not Drive until all the windows are clear.

  • Carry spray-on de-icer in the vehicle.

Air conditioning

  • Use it to keep the seals lubricated.

  • It can be the quickest way of demisting your windows. 

Locks and Seals

  • Be sure that you can get into your vehicle by lubricating all locks (doors, boot, bonnet and hatch)

  • Check door and boot rubber seals are in good condition by coating them with a suitable lubricant.

Lights and Belts

  • Check all belts and hoses for tight and in good condition.

  • Make sure all lights are clean and working.

  • Carry a spare set of bulbs for your vehicle.

  • Use dipped headlights, see and be seen.

Emergency Equipment To Keep In The Vehicle

  • Torch a head torch keeps your hands free

  • Blanket

  • Water

  • Medical supplies/first aid kit

  • Shovel

  • 10 mm Polypropylene rope and a sharp knife. Tie the rope through the wheel rim and round the tyre, it will give you more grip to get you going if you get stuck in snow. Remove plastic wheel trims and remember it is only for use as a last resort, as it will have an effect on tyre performance.

  • Mobile phone and charger.

  • Warning triangle

  • High visibility coat/vest

  • Window scraper

  • Tea light candles and lighter. Use only in an emergency, they can give some warmth in the vehicle. Extreme care must be used. Keep a heat resistant dish/can to place them in and avoid any damage to the vehicle in there use. DO NOT USE after an accident as there may be a leakage of fuel or fumes.

  • Fire extinguisher

  • Small tool kit

  • Extra clothing and footwear/Gloves/Socks

  • Non-perishable energy foods – e.g., chocolate or granola bars, juice, soup, bottled water

Winter Driving Tips

  • Modern vehicles do not normally need to have the engine revved to move off in snow or ice.

  • By careful use of the clutch, you should be able to move off in first gear.

  • If the traction control is kicking in to eagerly, switch it off but remember to switch it back on when you have the vehicle moving again.

  • If your vehicle goes into a skid, put the clutch fully down as this will stop the engine trying to drive the vehicle on.

  • In an auto put the lever into neutral.

  • Steer into the skid.

  • DO NOT lift off the brakes if the ABS is working as this is what it was designed for. ABS will not damage the vehicle, it allows you to steer and brake at the same time.

  • Most importantly keep your distance and SCAN well ahead for any danger.

  • People forget it takes longer to stop in winter and wet conditions, KEEP YOUR DISTANCE.