Snowy and icy conditions can prove a real challenge for drivers. It’s essential that you’re prepared and cautious to stay safe. So we’ve got tips on how to prepare to drive in bad weather, what to do if you get stuck, and a winter checklist of what you should pack when making an icy journey.
Before you set off
- Make sure you allow plenty of time – you will need to drive slower when the weather’s bad.
- Give yourself lots of time to de-ice the car and get it started.
- Clear all fo the windows.
- Make sure you have enough fuel – keep at least a quarter of a tank at all times.
- Plan your route and try to stick to main roads which are more likely to have been gritted and cleared.
- Never let air out of your tyres – it’s a myth that it helps you grip, it is just dangerous.
Good practice when driving on ice or snow
- Allow plenty of space between you and the car in front – stopping time dramatically increase in freezing weather.
- Drive slowly downhill in a low gear and try not to brake.
- Always use your brakes very gently.
- Use your headlights, even in the daytime, if the visibility is reduced.
- Only use snow chains when there’s enough snow on the roads (a complete covering of snow) or you’ll risk damaging your wheels and the road.
If you get stuck in snow
If your car won’t start
It’s always a good idea to have your breakdown cover details with you and make sure your mobile phone’s charged before heading off. So if your car doesn’t start, call your breakdown cover company.
Winter driving checklist – essentials to carry with you:
- A fully charged phone
- An in-car phone charger or power pack
- First aid kit
- A map
- A rug or material in case your tyres need grip
- A blanket, rug or sleeping bag
- Ice scraper
- Torch and batteries
- Snacks – nuts, chocolate, fruit or cereal bars, and a hot drink in a flask
- Extra screenwash
- Sunglasses (when it's sunny this helps with glare – especially when there's snow on the road)
- A warm winter coat, hat and gloves
- Sturdy footwear
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