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Winter Driving Tips

As the nights pull in and wintery weather arrives, we all need to start thinking of the dos and don’ts of winter driving. This time of year throws up road conditions that you may not face at other times, and they may require rather different driving techniques.

Remember driving during winter requires common sense and a greater awareness of conditions. You should always be prepared.

CLM winter driving

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To assist drivers, we have produced a PDF download of our top tips for driving in winter weather.

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Perils of wet weather driving

In wet weather, stopping distances will be at least double those required for stopping on dry roads. In wet weather:

  • You should keep well back from the vehicle in front. This will increase your ability to see and plan ahead.
  • If steering becomes unresponsive, it probably means the water is preventing the tyres from gripping the road. Ease off the accelerator and slow down gradually.
  • The rain and spray from vehicles makes it difficult to see and be seen.
Driving in the rain
Icy Slush

When roads are icy or slushy

Icy roads throw up a number of problems, so please note:

  • It can take ten times longer to stop in icy conditions than on a dry road, so drive slowly, allowing extra room to slow down and stop.
  • Use the highest gear possible to avoid the wheels spinning.
  • Manoeuvre gently, avoiding harsh braking and acceleration.
  • To brake on ice or snow without locking your wheels, get into a low gear earlier than normal, allow your speed to fall and use the brake pedal gently.
  • If you start to skid, ease off the accelerator but do not brake suddenly.
  • Ensure you keep as warm as possible, be prepared with blankets or coats.
  • If you get stranded in the snow don’t leave your vehicle – let help come to you.

Watch out for fog

At this time of year, fog can be a hazard in any region of the country:

  • Fog drifts rapidly and is often patchy.
  • In foggy conditions, drive very slowly using dipped headlights.
  • Use fog-lights if visibility is seriously reduced, but remember to switch them off when visibility improves.
  • Make sure you know where your fog light switch is so you can turn on without distraction when required. This particularly relevant if you are driving a new or unfamiliar vehicle.
  • Don’t hang on to the tail-lights of the vehicle in front. This gives you a false sense of security and means you may be driving too close.
  • Don’t speed up suddenly, even if it seems to be clearing. You can suddenly find yourself back in thick fog.
Foggy driving conditions
Road Flood sign

Flooded roads are an increasing problem

Flooding seems to be more prevalent in recent years and requires good driving practice:

  • Don’t attempt to cross if the water appears deep.
  • Drive slowly in first gear but keep the engine speed high by slipping the clutch – this will stop you from stalling.
  • Avoid the deepest water, usually near kerbs.
  • Remember – test your brakes when you are through the flood before you drive at speed.

When you do have to travel by road, please bear in mind the following ten good practice driving tips:

CLM winter driving

Download your PDF Guide

To assist drivers, we have produced a PDF download of our top tips for driving in winter weather.

Get Your Guide Now