Winter driving tips

Driving during the winter months presents a different challenge when compared to other periods of the year, as the road conditions are typically more testing and greater strain is placed on cars. Preparing for icy weather is therefore important to keep you safe and mobile and we offer some key driving tips.

Before you set off

Travel disruption can be avoided by properly preparing before you set off. You should give yourself at least ten minutes to prepare the car, and this means clearing the windscreen of all ice using a scraper or de-icing spray. During snow or icy conditions you should also plan your journey to avoid minor roads which can be dangerous to navigate, and it's worthwhile to allow extra time to reach your destination as delays may be encountered.

When on the road

Keeping a safe distance from the car in front is vital in all conditions, but particularly during the winter. This is especially true if ice or snow is on the roads, and there's plenty more you can do to avoid an incident.

On snow or ice:

  • Pull away in second gear.
  • When driving uphill, try to avoid stopping by waiting until the road ahead is clear, and choose the right gear well in advance as you don't want to change down.
  • When driving downhill, approach the hill slowly, stay in a low gear and try not to use the brake, leaving plenty of space between you and the car in front.
  • If you do need to brake, press the pedal gently to avoid skidding.

Important winter maintenance

Regular maintenance should be a year-round priority, and you should pay close attention to the following during the winter to help you avoid becoming stranded.

Tyres

  • All your car's tyres should have at least 3mm of tread across three-quarters of the tyre.
  • Look at fitting winter tyres, which have a higher silica content to prevent hardening and improve grip in cold conditions.
  • Snow chains can be used if you live in an isolated area, but they must be removed before driving on a metalled road that can reasonably be navigated without chains.

Battery and electrics

More strain will be placed on the battery during winter as you are likely to be using the heater more and have your lights on for longer. Consider replacing the battery if it is around five years old to avoid an issue, and place it on an overnight trickle charge if your vehicle sits idle for much of the weekend.

Lights

With colder months approaching, check that all the bulbs are working fully and that the lenses are clear of dirt which reduces visibility. When clearing ice or snow from your windows don't forget to also scrape it from the front and rear lights.

To expertly prepare your vehicle for changing road conditions, contact your nearest Sturgess marque dealership and arrange a seasonal service.