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Driving in winter: tips for UK drivers

Long nights, misty mornings and the occasional flurry of snow - winter brings lots of driving conditions to think about. 

Here are some tips to help you stay safe in the coldest season.

Check your car 

  • Clean all your lights and make sure they’re working properly. 
  • Check that your tyre tread depth is well above the legal minimum of 1.6mm. 
  • Make sure your brake fluid is at the right level - you’ll want your brakes to be working at their best in icier conditions. 
  • Own an electric car? Check your charge before heading out as cold weather can affect the range. Look up charging points on your route and factor any potential charging time into your plans.  

Prepare for bad weather conditions

  • Create a cold kit for your car in case you break down in winter weather. Pack warm clothes, ice scrapers, jump leads, a first aid kit, water and snacks.
  • Be extra careful when driving around schools or residential areas. Stopping distances can be ten times longer on icy roads. 
  • Keep your speed down and change gears smoothly when driving on snow or ice.
  • Don’t de-ice your windscreen with boiling hot water - it’ll crack! You’d be surprised how many people learn this the hard way.
  • Whether it’s snow, fog, ice or torrential rain - try not to drive in bad conditions. It’s the easiest way to avoid an accident.

Stay safe at night

  • If you’re new to UK roads or worry about driving in the dark, book some evening driving lessons to help boost your confidence.
  • Refresh your knowledge about when and how to use each of your car lights here.
  • The road-safety charity Brake says tiredness causes 4% of fatal crashes in the UK. Make sure you’re well-rested before driving and take regular breaks if you’re travelling at night. And remember, no matter how strong your morning coffee is, nothing beats a full night’s sleep! 

Call us after an accident 

More accidents occur in winter than in any other season. If you have an accident this winter, don’t be too hard on yourself. These things happen. Get the contact details of any other drivers involved and call our 24/7 accident support line as soon as possible. We’re here to help.  

Want to know more about what to do after an accident? Read our blog here. 

Been in an accident and need to make a claim? You can start the process here.