Winter Driving Advice

Posted on: 08 January 2009 by Gareth Hargreaves

With news of train delays and forecasts of snow, we bring you the best winter driving advice to keep you safe on Britain’s roads.

The New Year doesn’t necessarily guarantee happy times for motorists and commuters as they go back to work.

Train fares have increased by an average of 6% with some services going up by as much as 11% and the 5th January was declared ‘breakdown day’ as sub-zero temperatures hit the UK.

This coupled with the fact that cars have been left on driveways over Christmas; means many people will have trouble starting their engines this January. 

At this time of year particularly, drivers need to take extra care on the roads. The risk of bad weather means motorists should take added precautions; looking after their car and ensuring they have everything they need in case of an emergency breakdown. 

With news of train delays and forecasts of snow, we bring you the best winter driving advice to keep you safe on Britain’s roads.

Driving Tips

  • Allow plenty of time for journeys.
  • If it’s before 8am or after 3.30pm before starting the engine and moving off, make sure your eyes have become accustomed to the dark.
  • Make sure all the windows are properly de-iced and de-misted before you set out.
  • Remember your sunglasses to avoid glare from the low winter sun.
  • Twilight is a particularly hazardous time for driving, so take extra care.
  • Watch out for fog and use fog lights, but remember to switch them off again when they are no longer needed.
  • Rain and spray from other vehicles make it difficult to see and be seen so slow down in heavy downpours.
  • Allow for a greater braking distance in wet conditions.
  • Watch your speed and remember that cyclists and pedestrians will be less visible.
  • Be prepared to cancel a journey. Listen out for weather warnings and act appropriately.
  • Don’t be afraid to turn back – if things start to look dicey, a trip can most likely be postponed.
  • Be aware of the danger of getting stranded - especially if you are heading somewhere remote. Take warm clothing and consider stopping at a hotel for the night rather than pressing on.
  • If your own vehicle is struggling with the weather, consider hiring a car instead. This will ensure the car is fully maintained, safe, reliable and covered by 24 hour roadside assistance.
  • Ensure the windscreen washer is topped up.
  • Always keep a bottle of water and food, such as chocolate just in case you breakdown.
  • Think about your health when driving this winter - exposure to at least 20 minutes of natural light a day will help to boost energy levels.
  • Increase serotonin rich foods including fish, turkey, eggs and cheese to replace serotonin usually produced by daylight.

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