Winter Driving Tips

Driving in winter can put even the best drivers to the test.

Driving in winter conditions such as snow & ice should be treated with respect. All types of vehicles can get stuck in the winter conditions even on familiar roads to the driver, leading to delay in traffic and potentially accidents.

Below is our advice on how to prepare your vehicle before you leave your home in winter.


Checking your battery before winter comes round is vital. This is because of batteries very rarely last longer than five years, and thanks to winter, a higher demand is put on them with lights, wipers, and heating being turned on for longer than before. If you don’t travel far or often, it will be worth carrying out a trickle charge overnight.


Whilst modern engines are more robust and can handle the winter conditions better than old engines, it’s still worth taking as much stress off the engine when starting up. To do this, depress the clutch when starting the vehicle,┬áthis will reduce drag on the engine when starting it up, also preserving the battery.


When it comes to the winter month’s, it’s worth considering having winter tyres added to your vehicle. Winter tyres are designed to grip to roads better in wet, snowy and icy conditions. If you don’t have the money or don’t want winter tyres, then ensure your current tyres are inflated correctly and have at least 3mm of tread on your tyres.


Ensure you keep your screenwash full to the brim. Your windscreen is more prone to dirt in the winter, and keeping your windscreen clean is a big part of being safe in your vehicle.

Here are a few extra tips to take into consideration before you set off:

  • Allow for extra travel time in the winter.
  • Wake up earlier just in case you have to de-ice your vehicle.
  • Ensure you have at least half a tank of fuel in case of unexpected delay.
  • Don’t drive off until your windscreen is clear.
  • Plan your routes ahead.

How To Drive In The Snow

Driving in the snow is not as daunting as you think, as long as you know how to drive in these conditions.

The Insitute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) Recommends.

When you’re driving in snow, to get your vehicles speed right. Don’t drive too fast, otherwise, you risk losing control, but not slow in case you risk losing momentum when you need it most, such as going uphill – and to brake, steer and accelerate as smoothly as possible.

If your vehicle is able to, pull off in second gear. This should help prevent your wheels from spinning in the snowy conditions.

Ensure you avoid high-revs and stay in a higher gear for better control.

When driving in snowy conditions, try to evaluate the stopping distance you have in front of you. The less you slam on your brakes in icy conditions the better. Judge your distance and let your vehicle come to a halt on its own as much as possible.

winter stopping distances

Don’t rely on ABS in slippy conditions. Your wheels can still lock up even with ABS.

When descending downhill, lower your speed before you start the descent, and try your best to not let the speed build up.

Have any tips for driving in the snow? Let us know in the comments below.

When driving in snow what gear should I use?

When you’re driving in the snow, try to use the highest gears possible.

Set off in second gear, and avoid high revs. This, in theory, should help you from spinning your wheels and losing control.

If your car has a winter driving mode, make sure you apply it for added grip.

How to drive in snow in an automatic car

Driving in the snow in an automatic car isn’t that much different to a manual vehicle.

Just as much care and attention need to be paid. However, there are slight differences as your automatic vehicle might try and gear up and gear down when you don’t want them to.

The same rules apply as a manual vehicle, set off in second gear and avoid high revs if possible.

When driving in falling snow you should

Gradually lower the speed you’re travelling at, and steadily develop a safe distance between you and the cars around you.

When you come to stop, brake gently and in plenty of time.

Our 4 step guide on how to keep safe this winter can be seen below. We know there are much more ways to keep safe on the roads this winter, and that’s where you come in. Simply give your advice on our Facebook, Twitter or Google+ page. Stay safe!


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