A guide to safe driving in the winter months

Winter’s just around the corner – so get car smart and weather ready!

With winter fast approaching, it’s that time of year again to start thinking about preparing your car ready for the Great British weather!
Cold weather, freezing temperatures, rain, snow and ice all make driving conditions a lot trickier, so it’s very important to be prepared.

Get car smart and road safe before the winter weather arrives

A wintry road in the UK © Copyright Mat Fascione and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

To make sure your car remains problem-free and you and your loved ones stay safe this winter, we recommend carrying out our pre-winter vehicle check, either by doing it yourself or by taking your car to a local garage.
 Our Pre-Winter Car Checklist:

  1. The Battery – batteries more than five years old are more likely to cause problems during the winter months and may lead to your car breaking down. Check and charge your car battery regularly and replace it if your car is having problems starting.
  2. Antifreeze and Screen Wash – make sure your car is topped up with the correct antifreeze to the right concentration and to stop your windscreen from freezing, ensure your screen wash is kept topped up with a touch of anti-freeze screen wash.
  3. Tyres – ensure your tyres are in good condition. Check the pressure and tread depth and consider purchasing a set of winter tyres for extra safety, as these provide increased grip in snow and on icy roads. Recommended tread for tyres during the winter months is 3mm.
  4. Lights and Wiper Blades –  make sure all your lights are working correctly,  keep them clean and carry spare bulbs just in case. Inspect your wiper blades to make sure there are no cracks or defects and replace them if they don’t clear your windscreen properly.
  5. Breakdown Cover – it’s always a good idea to have breakdown cover, especially during the winter months when cars are at their most vulnerable. If you do have breakdown cover, make sure your policy is up-to-date and you have a contact number on you at all times.

Carrying an emergency winter kit in the boot of your car is also a very good idea, so here’s what to pack in case of an emergency:
Warm clothes
Blankets or sleeping bags
Food snacks with long lasting dates and bottled water
High-visibility vest
Hazard warning triangle
De-icer, screen wash and scraper
Torch and extra batteries
Jump leads, tow rope and car jack
Shovel and snow brush
Bag of sand or cat litter
First aid kit
Wellington boots
Have your mobile phone and in-car charger with you at all times, keep a road atlas in your car just in case and remember to keep your fuel tank at least half-full!
Driving in wintry conditions simply requires more caution and above all, common sense. Allow more time to prepare your car before you set off and give yourself more time to reach your destination. Drive to the conditions of the road and the weather and leave plenty of space between yourself and the vehicle in front of you.
Before driving off on a long journey, check the weather forecast, plan the safest route and keep in touch with the latest travel news.
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