Expert Tips for Driving in Winter: Stay Safe During Cold Snaps

Expert Tips for Driving in Winter: Stay Safe During Cold Snaps

As Winter continues in 2023, drivers still face the challenge of snow and ice. Even the most experienced drivers can find this difficult, so here are some top tips from our Motorfinity experts that will help you drive safely during these cold snaps.

Don't Get Stranded in the Cold: Perform the Must-Do Car Checks for Winter Driving

Before setting off on a journey, check the operation of your lights, wiper blade condition and washer fluid level. Water coolant concentration and battery condition are 2 other considerations. Also, it is crucial to check your tyres during winter. Grip is massively reduced in the winter weather. Whilst the required tyre tread depth is a minimum of 1.6mm, anything below 3mm leads to grip reduction. We recommend a weekly check in the winter months.

De-Ice Your Car Quickly and Safely Before Your Morning Commute

We all know the stress involved when you’re in a rush to get to work in the morning and your car has frosted over. Ideally, a de-icer or sheet on the screen is the safest and most effective way of clearing your screen. However, warm water will not crack the screen as some people think, but boiling water is NOT a good idea! Make sure your wipers are not stuck to your screen before your journey. If they are, operating them can damage mechanisms and blow fuses. Also, knowing which heat controls are needed to de-ice the car, saves more time.

Visibility is Key : Always Check your Windshield , Wipers, and Mirrors Before Driving

Always make sure that you can see clearly before you set off on your journey. You should check your wiper blades condition, as worn or damaged blades can leave streaks or smudges, making it difficult to see the road clearly. If the blades are not functioning properly, they should be replaced immediately. By taking a few extra minutes to ensure clear visibility , you can significantly reduce the risk of accidents and ensure safe driving for you and others on the road.

Carry the Essential Winter Emergencies

There are some essential items you can carry in your car: Screen wash and water for topping up. Make sure you have plenty of fuel for the journey as you will use more fuel in winter months. A warm coat in case you break down, a warning triangle and a torch with new batteries are all advised. A charged mobile phone for emergency purposes. and a pair of sunglasses to cope with winter sun are also a good idea!

When on the Road, Maintain a Safe Distance from the Car in Front

As the temperature drops, icy roads lead to your stopping distance increasing. With the gap normally being 2 seconds, you will need to leave a 10 sec + gap from the car in front to allow time for you to break. It is also important to note that the stopping distance also depends on the vehicle's speed, weight, and road conditions. Therefore, drivers should adjust their speed according to the road conditions and maintain a safe distance from the car in front to ensure safe driving and avoid accidents.

Drive in a Higher Gear in Snow and Ice

This allows you to have more control over your car. When pulling off in icy weather, starting in second gear will make it easier to get going and have more grip on the road. However, it's important to note that driving in a higher gear can also reduce the engine's power, so it's crucial to maintain a safe speed, and avoid sudden changes in direction or speed.

Best to Leave Earlier than Usual

Take your time on any journey. With the wintery conditions, it’s best to leave earlier than usual to prevent you from being in a rush and allowing you time to be cautious. 

Avoid Non-Essential Journeys

In these extreme weather conditions. Snow and ice, flash flooding and fog can all be dangerous. If you are not sure about the depth of standing water, do not attempt to drive through it. Insurance companies are paying out less on this as they class it as being negligent.

Stay Safe this Winter!