What can I do to be safer when driving in freezing weather?

  • During cold weather it’s especially important to check the condition of your tyres, battery and wiper blades. Make sure the lights work properly and check oil and fuel levels. You should also check antifreeze levels and have de-icer in case the locks freeze.
  • Keep the windscreen and other windows clear of snow and dirt. Use a scraper and de-icer on the windows for full visibility. Clear snow from the roof – it can fall onto the windscreen and block your view.
  • Keep lights and number plates clean. You can be fined if they can’t be seen easily.
  • Tyres should have at least 3mm of tread for winter driving, and no less than 2mm. Consider changing to winter or all-season tyres. These don’t harden so much in low temperatures, and give a better grip.
  • Don’t reduce tyre pressures to get more grip – it doesn’t work and it reduces stability.
  • Keep a torch, ice scraper, wellies and a shovel in your car. Make sure you have a coat or blanket and some emergency food/hot drink supplies in case you break down.
  • Make sure you have your breakdown helpline number and mobile phone with you on all journeys. Keep your mobile fully charged. (If you’re in an accident, here’s some separate advice on what to do.)
  • Gentle manoeuvres are the key to safe driving – stopping distances are 10 times longer in ice and snow. If you encounter black ice, stay calm and do not hit the brakes. Try to keep the steering wheel straight.
  • Winter Motoring Kit: If you have to make a journey, ensure you take with you…
    * Blanket, rug or even sleeping bag
    * High visibility jacket
    * Shovel
    * Ice scraper and de-icer
    * Torch and batteries
    * Extra screen wash

Thanks to the Clydesdale Bank for this advice.        December 2017