Whether you’re an experienced driver, have just passed your test, or are still taking driving lessons, hitting the road in winter has its challenges. Conditions can vary from dull, wet, and windy, to searingly bright and icy, with very little preamble. Which can make driving less enjoyable and far more difficult. Whether you’re worried about driving home for Christmas, or simply getting to work on time, we’ve put together our top tips to keep you safe on the road this winter.
Three Tips for Safer Winter Driving
1. Prepare your vehicle
If you’re driving independently, or taking lessons in your own car, one of the most important safety steps you can take is to prep your car for winter conditions. This means:
- Making sure that all of your lights are clean and in good working condition at the start of every journey.
- Adding antifreeze to your windscreen wash (and radiator in older vehicles – if you’re not sure about this one, check your user manual or ask a mechanic).
- Ensuring that you can keep your windscreen clean – that your wiper blades are in good condition, that the wipers function fully, and the wiper reservoir is always full.
- Keeping your oil topped up.
- Checking your tyres to make sure that they have a safe tread, or swapping to winter tyres if you live in a more rural area.
- Ensuring that your car battery is healthy and well-maintained.
- And if there has been snow, always clearing it off your vehicle before you set out. It can be illegal – not to mention incredibly dangerous – to do otherwise.
2. Drive safely
Winter driving can be very different to driving at other times of the year. And you’ll notice this even when out on your driving lessons. So, you’ll need to change your driving style.
This can mean reducing your speed. If there’s snow, ice, or simply rain, it’s harder for your car tyres to gain traction, which means that your braking distances can be seriously affected. And in the worst-case scenario, you can find yourself sliding and out of control.
For the same reason, it’s a good idea to avoid accelerating or braking too heavily. And you need to increase the distance between you and other road users. It’s also worth giving yourself more time to complete your journey. If you have to be there by a certain time, set off ten minutes earlier.
If you’ve just passed your test and are worried about driving in wintery conditions, get in touch with your driving instructor. They may be able to help you with an extra winter driving lesson.
3. Prepare for an emergency
OK, so, we’re about to sound like your mum. Or maybe a Scout leader. But in winter, it always pays to be prepared. Because although it sucks to break down – or have an accident – at any time of year, it’s doubly sucky in winter. Having the right gear in the boot won’t make those scenarios any better, but they will help to stop them from being quite so miserable. So, prepare a winter driving kit. Think about including:
- A torch
- Bottled water
- Jump leads – and find out how to use them
- And if at all possible, a spare tyre
Every season brings its own driving challenges, but driving in winter often causes the most concern. By being prepared, taking precautions, and adapting your driving style, you can make winter driving a lot less scary.
Are you looking for driving lessons in the West Midlands? Find out how DGN Driving can help.