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Driving In Snow Top Tips For Success

Driving in snow can be perilous unless you are well prepared

There are no dark arts to driving in snow and ice. It is just a matter of being prepared and reacting to the weather conditions. Our comprehensive top tips should be useful to any driver, from the experienced to the inexperienced.

Road Worthiness

The first thing you should do before even attempting driving in snow is to check whether your car is road worthy for winter conditions:

  1. Treads on tyres should have at least 1.6mm but 3mm is recommended in the winter for extra traction and grip
  2. Ensure your car battery is working properly by getting it checked at a reputable garage or doing it yourself with a car battery tester
  3. Top up your engines antifreeze to prevent it from freezing in the cold
  4. Add a winter additive to your screen wash reservoir to prevent it from freezing
  5. Check your wiper blades to make sure they clear your window effectively. Old or worn blades should be replaced
  6. Store spare bulbs in your car and wipe the light glass regularly so you can see and be seen
  7. Keep your fuel tank regularly topped up to prevent unnecessary breakdowns

Be Prepared

Once you know your car is ready for driving in snow, you need to think about what kit you should store in your boot for an emergency. The amount you take with you will be dependent on the route and the length of the journey, but you should consider the following:

  1. A torch with spare batteries
  2. Stout shoes or Wellington boots – Never drive whilst wearing these
  3. A warm blanket or winter sleeping bag
  4. Thermal hat and insulated waterproof gloves
  5. Waterproof jacket and spare warm clothing
  6. Snow shovel
  7. Bottle of water and emergency food such as a chocolate bar
  8. Flask filled with a hot drink
  9. Fully charged mobile phone with a charging cable
  10. An old rug or sacking for placing under car wheels if stuck

Driving In Snow And Ice

  1. The first thing you should assess before driving in snow is if your journey is actually necessary. Speak to your employer to see if you can work from home or take the day as holiday. If your journey is necessary and unavoidable then follow these tips for driving safely:
  2. Research your route. All the major breakdown services will have up to date information of road conditions on their sites
  3. Get up early to prepare your car. Remove all snow and defrost windows thoroughly. Ensure your lights and number plates are clean and visible
  4. Leave earlier than normal and be generous with your expected journey time.
  5. Tell a family member of friend your intended route
  6. Dial your radio in to a local radio station with weather and road reports
  7. If your wheels are spinning in first gear when starting out, try pulling away in second gear
  8. Stick to main roads as they will more likely be ploughed and gritted
  9. Drive Slowly and anticipate breaking. On snow and ice covered roads the breaking distances can be up to 10 times further
  10. Apply brakes gently to help prevent skidding
  11. When coming up to a hill, leave enough space between yourself and the car in front to prevent breaking or stopping half way up
  12. Coming downhill, keep your engine in a low gear to slow your car down rather than applying the breaks


If you should find yourself broken down on the roads or stuck in snow then the first thing to remember is not to panic. There will be other drivers in exactly the same predicament at yourself.

  1. If possible, move your car off the road to prevent other drivers form getting stranded
  2. Notify friends and family members of your situation and contact your breakdown provider
  3. If you are stranded in snow it may be possible to dig yourself out. Place a rug or old mat under the tyres to give extra grip
  4. Do not abandon your car if you do not know where you are or if you are not within easy walking distance of help
  5. Cars loose heat very efficiently due to the high metal content and low insulation so keep warm by adding extra clothing layers
  6. Try and keep your engine running if you want to use electric items such as heated seats and lights. Turn it in for at least five minutes every hour
  7. Ensure the exhaust is clear of snow before turning on your engine

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This entry was posted on Monday, January 7th, 2019 at 4:35 pm and is filed under Advice. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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