How to stay safe while driving in winter

22 Jan

If we had to describe the weather in the UK in one word, we would say ‘unpredictable’. Especially during the winter, we should be prepared for hazardous conditions on the road. With last year’s Beast from the East still fresh in our minds and the Met Office reporting that they expect it to remain cold for a very long time, we wanted to share our advice on how to check your vehicle is winter-ready and driving safely in adverse weather conditions.

Checking your vehicle

  • Check your tyre pressure and look for any cuts and bulges as this could indicate that the tyres need to be changed.
  • Your tyre tread depth should also be checked regularly to make sure that they are at least 1.6mm. You could also consider putting on winter tyres to increase their grip.
  • Have a quick look under your vehicle on a regular basis to check for leaks.
  • Check your windscreen wipers and replace them if necessary. Make sure the washer bottle is topped up with screen wash and keep a can of de-icer in the car at all times.
  • Be sure to keep your fuel topped up and don’t drive on an empty tank.

Driving safely

  • Before driving, remove any ice or snow from your windows, bonnet and headlights. It’s against the law to drive with snow or ice on your vehicle, including its roof.
  • Drive at slow speeds and with caution. You will need 3 – 12 times the amount of stopping distance than you need without precipitation.
  • Do not break quickly, or you risk spinning out of control.
  • If you begin to hydroplane, hold your steering wheel straight and take your foot off the accelerator.
  • When driving in a rain or thunderstorm, turn your headlights, wipers and demister on to increase visibility.
  • When driving in foggy conditions, use your low beams or fog lights as well as turning on your wipers and demister.
  • If you’re driving in extremely thick fog, roll down all of your windows so that you can hear other vehicles around you.
  • If you can’t see the road’s edge due to fog, pull off on the right and turn on your hazard warning lights. Don’t start driving again until you can see.
  • If you are caught in a thunderstorm, pull off the road into an open area and away from trees (to avoid a lightning strike).
  • If snow is forecast, always keep a shovel in your boot along with a thick blanket, snacks and water in case you get stranded.
  • If your vehicle gets stuck in snow, straighten your wheels and accelerate at a slow pace.

Need advice?

Speak to our personal insurance team today to discuss your car insurance. Call us on 02920 855242 or email gareth.williams@thomas-carroll.co.uk. If our clients have an accident or break down, our claims team will always be on hand to help.