Winter driving tips

The cold days are drawing in, nights are getting darker, and winter is now in full swing. According to the RAC, Just under 563,500 breakdowns happened during the winter months from December 2016 to February 2017. Driving in rain, snow and ice can pose a range of different challenges to drivers, and can make even familiar journeys unpredictable.

Here the RAC run through their top tips, to help you feel prepared for different winter weather conditions.

Before you head off

  • Take some extra time to plan your journey, and keep up to date with changing weather conditions. This will help avoid areas that might be more prone to a build-up of heavy snow or flooding.
  • You’ll need to factor in more travel time, as you’ll be driving slower and the roads might be more congested than usual.
  • Make sure to pack an emergency kit in case you break down – charge your phone before you head off, and make sure you have the number of a breakdown service. It’s also worth including something to keep you warm and some food and a drink.

Driving in snow

  • To reduce the likelihood of wheel spins, accelerate gently, use low revs, and try to get into higher gears as quickly as possible. Start in second gear to avoid wheel slips when setting off.
  • If you do lose control, make sure to steer into the skid. It’s also important to brake before turning the steering wheel when approaching a bend in the road.
  • Remember that breaking distances may increase depending on the severity of the snowfall. Keep your speed down to allow more time to stop.

Driving in heavy rain

  • Use dipped headlights so that other drivers can see you, and try to avoid using rear fog lights as they can outshine your brake lights, potentially causing an accident.
  • Keep your speed down and make sure you leave more space between you and the car in front. Driving fast through deep water could cause a lot of expensive damage.
  • In the event of aquaplaning, try not to panic and break heavily – instead, ease off the accelerator and let your speed reduce naturally.

Driving in fog

  • Before you head off, make sure you actually know how to turn on your fog lights!
  • Make sure you use dipped headlights, and only use your fog lights when visibility is decreased to less than 100m to avoid dazzling other road users.
  • Increase the distance between your car and the car in front. If you really can’t see, it may be worth stopping altogether until visibility improves.

Top tips from RAC Patrolmen

  • “Take your time and pay attention to other road users.”
  • “Spend five minutes allowing your car to warm up, and make sure you clear all snow and ice from your windows.”
  • “Check the forecast, assess the road conditions, and adjust your speed accordingly. Leave more distance between your car and the vehicle in front.”

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The RAC is one of the UK's most progressive motoring organisations, providing services for both private and business motorists and are committed to making motoring easier, safer, more affordable and more enjoyable for drivers and road users.

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