Driving in Winter Conditions

Please take care when driving in winter

It is impossible for the local authorities to treat all roads at once, so we have to adopt a sensible approach to our journeys

Plan Ahead – Avoid if you can

• Check and stay tuned to the local weather forecast by listening to your radio, checking the internet or news channels. If conditions are severe or if you are uncertain about driving in these conditions, then ask yourself “Do I really need to go at all?”

Your Journey – Prepare for Winter (hours/ days before travelling)

• Put some long life energy bars and drinks, warm outdoor clothing (layers) and old blankets and a shovel or something that you can use to dig yourself out with in case the worst happens

• Give your vehicle a winter check and get fixed those minor problems that could lead to a break down e.g. squealing fan belt, old battery which doesn’t start the car first time, new wipers etc.

• Check your spare tyre or tyre kit. Ensure that you have one and it will let you get on with your journey

• Ensure you have the contact number for your local emergency and breakdown services in the car and/ or on your phone

Your Journey – Prepare for Winter (before you set out)

• Make sure you have as full a tank of fuel as possible

• Clear all the snow and ice from your vehicle including the lights. This is very important

• Check your tyres for tread. The more the better. Minimums are 1.6 and 2mm (3.5t, >3.5t)

• Unclog your screen wash jets and fill the bottle with appropriate concentration of wash

• Give yourself time. Leave earlier and don’t hurry. Better to be late than not to arrive at all

• Make sure someone knows where you are going and you have a means of contacting them especially if you are going off road. Carry a phone charger either for the vehicle or alternative power source.

Driving - Ice or Snow in bad weather, slow down.

• Make a continuous assessment of the road and weather conditions and be prepared to abandon your journey, turn back or find a place of safety

• Increase the space between your own and other vehicles. Keep a safe distance!

• Keep your windscreen clean

• Watch other road users and think ahead. Expect the unexpected.

• Accelerate, break and corner smoothly. Steer gently.

• Use gears to reduce speed as much as possible before applying the breaks

• If you have to brake, use short, even applications, not heavy sustained pressure on the pedal.

• At night, if you can see the stars, it’s probably freezing

• During the day if the sun is out, remember that it is lower and you may be temporarily blinded coming over hills or around corners

• If you break down, call the emergency services, stay warm and be patient

Getting caught out in severe snow can have serious consequences.

If you can, stay at home