Winter Driving Tips - Staying Safe Through the Cold Weather
By Dom at Compare Breakdown Cover,
10 December 2018
Winter often brings the most treacherous conditions for driving so we’ve put together some of the most important things to remember, and tips you keep you safe on the road.
Let’s start with a few bits of admin:
Get a Free Winter Health Check
There are plenty of companies that offer free winter health checks for your car, you’d be quite frankly mad not to take advantage of them. Most will check your tyres, anti-freeze levels and light bulbs. Crucially, many will also check your battery, which is the number one cause of a breakdown, so it really is worth it. Take a look at Kwik Fit, Halfords and Evans Halshaw. They all offer free checks over winter.
Whilst winter tyres aren’t a legal requirement, they shouldn’t be overlooked as a possibility. They provide far better grip than standard tyres and there are often good deals at local garages.
Remember, never be afraid to haggle! If winter tyres are out of the question for you, then there are hybrid tyres available that give you adequate cover throughout the year in most weather conditions.
Driving on Ice
When ice strikes, there’s a few things to remember to make sure you don’t have an accident, and you stay safe. The most dangerous part of driving on ice is braking on it. So firstly, brake nice and softly and be sure to leave 2 to 3x more distance than usual between yourself and the car in front of you.
Take corners slower than usual and always be on the lookout for patches of black ice; these are practically invisible, but one way to spot it is if the surface looks wet and glossy, then it’s likely that it’s black ice and you should exercise caution when driving over it. Don’t try and swerve out the way of it, or brake suddenly, just drive as gently as you can, and straight over it.
4wd vs 2wd
Having a 4wd car when the snow and ice hits is probably one of the best ways to stay safe in the worst of wintery weather. However, some 2wd cars are still pretty handy in the snow, as long as you’re gentle on the accelerator! Having said that, rear wheel drive cars are often the most problematic, this is because you really have to feather the accelerator pedal very lightly so that your tyres get grip; rear wheel drive cars traditionally have the tyres with the least grip and highest rpm so your tyre will spin quicker than a front wheel drive car with the same acceleration, causing you to gain less grip on ice or packed snow.
Preparing for as many eventualities as you can will pay dividends in the end, if you do ever come across and issue along the way.
Always Be Prepared
Inclement weather is always something to be wary of, especially in winter. It’s a good idea to make sure you’ve got some essentials (a blanket, de-icer, a scraper spare food and drink) stashed in your car for every eventuality.
We’d always recommend having a breakdown kit in your car, these can include hi-vis jackets, first aid kits and breathalysers, they’re well worth the added peace-of-mind. Every year there are stories about cars being stranded in the snow and blizzards, and if the worst should happen, you’ll be grateful for the extra comfort while you waited for assistance.
Wherever you end up travelling this winter, make sure you have adequate breakdown cover. Take a look at the polices we compare to see if any suit your needs.