Driving in winter weather

The colder weather has set in and with temperatures dropping it’s essential that you’re prepared with the winter weather when setting out on the road.

By Stephen

4 min read
winter weather

The colder weather has set in and with temperatures dropping it’s essential that you’re prepared with the winter weather when setting out on the road. We’ve pulled together some top tips for driving in winter weather conditions so whether it’s icy, frosty, snowy or just plain chilly, you can be road-ready!

Here are some of our top tips for driving in winter weather:

First and foremost, if there are severe weather warnings in place, make sure that you only drive if it’s absolutely essential. A lot of the main roads will be treated by gritting lorries, but most more rural roads and minor routes won’t be treated, so this warning especially applies to those who live in the countryside.

  • Prepare your car: make sure that your car is fully functional as cold weather could make issues worse. The RAC recommends driver carry out car checks on the fuel, oil, rubber, coolant, electrics and screen wash prior to driving in cold weather. Make sure you also check your windscreen wipers and ensure you have a suitable
  • Check all your lights to ensure they’re working and clean – and clean off your lights if they get mucky from the snow and ice.
  • Make sure your tyres have at least 3mm of tread for the winter and think about getting winter tyres or all-season tyres, which gives better grip in cold and wet conditions.
  • Ensure you have a winter breakdown kit.  An in-car winter breakdown kit could contain ice-scraper, de-icer, warm clothing and blankets in case of being stranded, a torch, hand warmers and some water.
  • Before setting out on your drive, if it’s snowy, make sure you clear all the snow from your vehicle, including on the roof – or you can be hit with a fine, and loose snow falling from cars can cause road hazards for other drivers. If there’s ice or frost on your windscreen, make sure you scrape this off before setting out as otherwise your view will be inhibited and again you can face a fine if you’re caught without being able to safely peer out the windscreen.
  • Always allow more time for winter journeys. Snow, ice, wind and rain can cause accidents and create traffic, it also means that drivers will be driving more slowly with longer stopping distances, so you will need to leave earlier when driving in winter weather so you’re not rushing or putting yourself in harm’s way on the road.
  • Check your fuel levels, because winter weather can cause delays, you could be caught out unexpectedly. Make sure you have at least a quarter of a tank of fuel at all times.
  • If you’re suffering from a winter cold or feeling well, try to avoid driving, especially if you’re on any medication that will make you feel drowsy.

And two final tips for driving in specific winter conditions:

Driving in the snow: Accelerate gently, using low revs and always maintain appropriate stopping distances. If you start to skid, steer into it and don’t slam on the brakes, if you hit the brakes, it will only make the skidding worse.

Driving when it’s icy: Tyre grip is hugely reduced so leave a larger gap than normal between you and the vehicle in front of you. Try and accelerate, brake, steer and change gear as smoothly as possible to reduce skid risk. If you hit a patch of black ice – which makes the road look wet, but is incredibly slippery – stay calm and do as little as possible, just try and steer straight and don’t hit the brakes!

Make sure you’re keeping safe and driving carefully whatever the conditions out on the road, in a wheelchair accessible vehicle or a standard model. If you’re looking for assistance in finding your next wheelchair accessible vehicle, why not see how we can help you? Contact us today. 

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