Winter driving guide
Driving in winter can be a nerve-wracking experience. The mornings are darker and the unpredictable weather makes the roads more dangerous – that's why it's important to know how to drive safely in winter conditions.
Prep in advance
Winter driving safety doesn't start on the road. Before you go anywhere, make sure you're fully prepared, with reliable breakdown cover and an easily accessible winter driving kit.
Your kit should contain warm clothes and blankets, a first aid kit, a snow shovel, a high-vis vest, a torch, a warning triangle, and food and plenty of water.
Also take the following safety precautions:
Four golden rules for winter driving safety
Bad weather will likely affect your reaction time, so speeding is a no-no – drive slowly, and always within the speed limit. Adjust your speed according to the conditions.
Keep a safe distance
Wet, icy conditions increase your stopping distances, so leave a bigger gap between you and the vehicle in front than you normally would.
Avoid any sudden braking or acceleration as you could skid on icy roads.
Be aware of poor visibility
If the weather calls for it, use your lights to improve visibility, and always look out for potential hazards, such as pedestrians or cyclists.
How do you drive in the snow and ice?
Many of us worry about driving in the snow, as there’s a greater chance of getting stuck. But you should follow the same winter driving tips when driving in either snow or ice:
When driving in snow what gear should I use?
In snow or ice, drive in the highest gear manageable, pulling away in second gear – this helps avoid wheelspin. Automatic vehicles may have a winter mode or equivalent.
How fast should you drive in snow?
Driving in snowy or icy conditions means poor visibility and less grip on the road. Drive slowly and cautiously, keeping well below the speed limit and looking out for temporary speed signs. Bear in mind, black ice is practically undetectable, so even if the road appears safe, it may not be.
What if I get stuck in the snow?
Don't rev your engine or spin your wheels – this will only dig you in deeper. Try using the highest gear possible, rocking back and forth to edge out gently.
If this doesn't work, it's best to call a breakdown vehicle. Stay inside your car until you can see help within 100 yards.
Is snow bad for your car?
It may be tiring and cold, but shovelling snow off your car is a vital precaution. Here's why:
How do I drive in heavy rain?
We've covered tips for driving in snow and ice, so what about wind and rain? Take a look at these safety-conscious suggestions:
How do you drive in the winter weather?
If you're driving in foggy conditions, you might be tempted to speed up once things look clear – don't! Fog is often patchy and could reappear suddenly. In thick fog, use your front and rear fog lights, remembering to switch them off once visibility improves.
In high winds, be extra vigilant driving across bridges. If the wind starts blowing your car around, slow down. Avoid driving near high-sided vehicles or motorcycles in strong winds, as they're particularly vulnerable to turbulence.
Stay covered this winter
Winter weather is unpredictable and dangerous. You can take all the precautions in the world, but sadly accidents can and do happen out on the road.
That's why it's vital to have reliable insurance cover, protecting you and your vehicle. Hastings Direct and Premier policies are Defaqto 5 Star rated and we were voted Car Insurance Provider of the Year in 2018. Don't risk winter driving without dependable insurance.