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Winter is Coming! Our 5 Tips for Safe Driving In The Winter

 Published 1st December 2023
General Guides 

Wintertime sees darker and shorter days, icy roads and, on occasion, a blanket of snow that, for some, causes havoc. These conditions merit the need to be extra careful when out on the roads, with drivers adapting how they handle their vehicles. Even the most seasoned of drivers would benefit from our winter driving safety tips, as all it takes is one little mistake that can lead to a dire situation.

From avoiding breakdowns and accidents to planning ahead and making yourself more visible, here are the best 5 winter driving tips to keep you prepared and safe for when the cold takes over.

Tip No. 1: Check Your Tyres

First up is making sure your tyres are in the best possible condition they can be. Good tyres can mean the difference between coming to a safe stop or skidding uncontrollably. Before the real cold sets in, ensure your tyre pressure is at your car’s recommended level and also check for any wear and tear. The legal requirement of tread depth in the UK is a minimum of 1.6mm and you can test if your tyres are at the required level by placing a 20p coin in the tread grooves. If you can see the outer band of the coin, your tyres are not suitable and not at the legal limit. If the outer band isn’t visible, you’re good to hit the road. 

Tip No. 2: Slow and Steady Wins the Race

With icy roads, the necessity of taking things slow is imperative. We understand that not everyone has the choice to avoid driving in winter conditions, so if you must make journeys when it’s icy or snowing, taking care and being cautious is the ideal way to drive.

It is recommended to start off in second gear, as this will help with wheel spin and always accelerate slowly, using low revs and changing to a higher gear as quickly as possible. The distance it takes to stop when breaking in icy conditions can be up to ten times more than usual, so always keep your distance from those in front of you and never slam down on the breaks – always ease slowly down on the brake pedal. The same goes for the accelerator.

Tip No. 3: Check Your Engine

The cold weather can have adverse effects on your engine and checking your engine on a regular basis can prevent breakdowns. Ensuring you have plenty of fuel in your tank before each journey is always a good shout, but more importantly, checking your oil level and maintaining it between the minimum and maximum mark is essential. Without proper oil levels, your engine can seize up, leaving you stranded in the cold and in need of costly repairs. The same goes for your coolant level, as when freezing temperatures hit, the coolant could freeze leading to your engine overheating and causing major damage. Ensure the coolant level is at the correct level frequently.

Tip No. 4: Prepare for the Worst – Bring the Essentials

Sometimes, life will throw you a curve ball and no matter how much you’ve prepared for a winter car journey, you could break down out of nowhere or become involved in a collision or accident. Pack emergency essentials with you, including an ice scraper and de-icer, warm clothes and a blanket, jump cables, a torch, spare batteries and high visibility clothing. The last thing you’ll want to happen is to become stranded without any emergency items that can help you in a sticky situation. There are plenty of cars suitable for winter driving that come with plenty of storage room to keep a winter kit handy. The Land Rover Discovery range features ample room and 4-wheel drive assisting you in the toughest of winter conditions. If you’re making frequent trips or long journeys during winter, leasing a suitable vehicle can be the difference between getting stranded and making it to your destination with smooth sailing.

Tip No. 5: Leave Plenty of Time Before Setting Off

As you’ll be driving slower and more cautiously in icy conditions, you’ll generally need to leave earlier than usual. This good winter driving tip doesn’t just account for everyone driving more carefully, it helps plan ahead for any road closures, accidents or other obstacles that hinder journeys. Know your route before leaving, check for any traffic updates and which roads have been gritted and cleared of snow. Always ensure you have clear visibility out of your windscreen and surrounding windows, check all lights are working and if driving in snow, have your lights dipped to not blind other drivers.

Rounding Up How to Stay Safe When Driving in The Winter

Being prepared for the icy, freezing conditions on the road is essential for staying safe. Check over all areas of your car before the cold snap hits and continue to assess your vehicle’s condition throughout winter. From the tires to the lights and engine, ensuring everything is in top working order will drastically reduce any breakdowns and accidents. Pack your essentials for the worst-case scenario and perhaps most importantly, but rather obvious, don’t drive like an idiot! Gateway2Lease can offer you expert advice on the best cars to drive during the wintertime, plus additional advice on winter driving safety tips. Get in touch with us today for more information on how to drive safely in the winter and the best vehicles for icy conditions.

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