Our cars are designed to withstand the rigours of the winter but we have to prepare for the harsh driving conditions that come every winter. We've compiled these handy Winter Driving Tips to help you prepare and keep you safe on the road this winter.
Prepare your vehicle
Before winter starts to bite, it’s always best to get your car looked over by a mechanic. They can check it’s all in good order, minimising the chances of a breakdown on some lonely, ice-covered road. Also, remember to defrost your car properly before every journey.
Keep your car clean
Make sure you give your car a regular clean throughout the winter months, removing salt and grime from the wheel arches and sills. Also clear the headlights and windows before every journey to ensure good visibility. Don’t forget to top up your washer bottles with the correct winter washer fluid. Also check your wiper blades for any damage as blunt wiper blades can cause smudging.
Check the tread on your tyres before the weather turns, replacing them if they’re below the AA’s recommended winter limit of 3mm.
If you live in a part of the country that has especially harsh winters, consider investing in all-weather or winter tyres. Winter tyres can make a real difference below 7°C, with improved braking, less road noise and even better mileage.
Prepare for all that can happen
Pack a bag with warm clothes, a blanket, a torch with spare batteries, a first aid kit, a bottle of water and some emergency rations. It’s also worth including essential kit for the car: jump leads, screen wash, an ice scraper and a shovel are good to keep in the boot.
Stay fully charged
Make sure your mobile phone is fully charged before every trip and buy an in-car charger so you’re never caught short. It could make the difference between receiving help and spending the night shivering in your car.
Keep an eye on the weather
Check the weather forecast and plan your journey according to the conditions. Check weather updates regularly as your journey progresses and adjust your route if neccessary.
Take care on the road
When you’re on your journey, pay careful attention to what’s going on around you. Icy or damp road surfaces need longer stopping distances, and poor visibility is a constant hazard.
Remember stopping distances are up to 10 times longer in snow and ice. Make regular stops on long journeys to ensure you stay alert even in challenging conditions.
Get in gear
The gearbox can be your best friend when the going gets icy, especially if you drive a manual. Pull away in second rather than first to avoid wheel spin and use low gears when travelling downhill to minimise braking.
It’s easier said than done, but try to keep a cool head if you skid or spin in slippery conditions. The worst thing you can do is slam on the brakes and waggle the steering wheel around. If you need some training in winter driving, organisations like RoSPA can help.
Change your plans
No one likes to change their plans, but if the weather worsens and it’s unsafe to be on the road, be prepared to cancel your trip.
If you’re en-route, find a hotel or B&B to accommodate you until it’s safe to travel. And if you’re still at home – well, it’s the perfect excuse to stay warm and dry inside watching Christmas movies!
Take advantage of our Free Winter Health Check
Our Free Winter Health Check can help you keep you and your car safe on the road this winter as we face some challenging conditions. Our Free Winter Health Check will ensure your car is ready and has the best chance of making it safely through winter.
At Riverside our trained technicians will carry out a thorough check of your car, helping you to stay toasty in the cold, have a bright clear view in the dark and feel secure on wet and icy roads.