Winter Driving: Our Top 5 Tips

Published on December 2nd, 2022 | by Sophie West

With the seasonal change to winter, the sun moves to a  position lower in the horizon when travelling during rush hour and other times throughout the day. We all know far too well in the UK there can be a mixture of icy roads and morning dazzle, so we need to be prepared for winter driving.

Here are our top 5 tips for safe driving in the winter weather:

1. Watch out for low sun

Keep the interior and exterior of your windscreen clear from mist and smears as this can help reduce being dazzled by the sun. Make sure you always have a pair of sunglasses to hand and use the sun visor to assist you. If the sun is too bright, slow down safely and promptly or find a safe place to stop.

2. Check your bulbs

Remember to check all your lights and not just your head lights,  including break lights, fog lights, front/back indicators and number plate lights.  The UK can be deceiving and our winter weather may also throw in some fog, so better to be safe than sorry.

3. Watch your tyre tread and pressure

Check your tyre tread and pressure regularly, especially before a long journey. The recommended minimum before replacing tyres for winter is 4mm (source: Continental Tyres).

If your tyre tread is on, or approaching, the 4mm level we recommend replacing before the cold weather takes hold.

Did you know the RAC recommend an overall minimum of 3mm tread depth for tyre replacement whatever the conditions, as stopping distances dramatically increase once on or below 3mm? They also reported the stopping distance between 3mm and 1.6mm (the legal minimum) can increase by as much as 44% when breaking in wet conditions.

4. Undertake general car maintenance

Check the battery, oil, filters and wiper blades for any repairs/replacements or top ups. All of these should be checked on a monthly basis to avoid running out mid journey.

Air filters are usually replaced every 6 months so if yours haven’t been replaced in a while it may be worth thinking about changing them.

5. Don’t panic

If you breakdown, remember to stay calm and wait in a safe place away from the road and vehicle.

Winter temperatures can dramatically vary so think about packing extra clothing, a high-visibility jacket or blankets in the boot just in case.

Before exiting the vehicle, put your coat on (preferably a reflective jacket), warning lights/hazards and exit the vehicle from the curb side door so not to expose yourself to passing traffic. Wait at a safe distance for roadside assistance.

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