How to drive safely in winter


It’s that time of year again – it’s still dark outside when you wake up, and the first thing you see out the window is a frosty, slippery scene on the roads. 

As the colder nights draw in, you’re probably dreading the more dangerous seasonal driving conditions and the delays and disruption brought with them. 

With some helpful tips and tricks, you can face the roads in confidence this winter and get to your destination safely. Read on to remind yourself of the challenges of winter driving and how you’ll be overcoming them.

Seasonal hazards

Chaos on the roads in winter is most often caused by harsh weather conditions. As temperatures drop, make sure you check your lights, antifreeze, and oil levels – not forgetting your tyre pressure. These are the essentials, and it’s recommended to check before any long journey.

A high-quality pair of winter tyres will give you an extra bit of grip and could be a worthy investment.

Leave prepared, arrive safely

Planning ahead could make you much more comfortable if you’re unlucky enough to break down in bad weather. Set your lights according to the conditions before you start driving, too – make sure you know where your fog light switch is.

Put together an emergency kit to keep in your boot that could contain a hi-vis jacket, drinking water, warm clothes, and a blanket to prepare you for the worst. How about a torch, too?

If you’re concerned that your car has faults which need attention before winter sets in, you might be feeling anxious about the cost of getting it serviced. 

The cost may even dissuade you from being safe and complying with the essential recommended safety checks. However, there are short-term loan options available if you don’t have cash to spare – your safety should always come first. Make sure that you can afford the repayments if you do decide to opt for credit this winter.

Adjust your driving

As the roads become more slippery thanks to rain, snow, and ice, you shouldn’t just drive as if you were cruising on an empty lane in summer.

As always, you should reduce your speeds according to the conditions, particularly on narrow country roads: of the 1,752 road deaths in 2019, 57% occurred on rural roads, highlighting the increased danger. 

Allow yourself more time so that you won’t be rushing once you’re behind the wheel. Don’t forget that you should maintain your distance, bearing in mind larger braking distances in wet conditions. 

With the right knowledge and sensible preparations, you can keep yourself and your family safe on the roads this winter.

Emily Muelford
Emily is a British writer whose love of car culture is augmented by a fascination with both the European and American automotive markets. Her perspective is uniquely fish and chips.