Driving during winter can be challenging even for experienced drivers. They face different hurdles, from long nights, snow, ice, and strong winds. Things can turn for the worse at a moment’s notice. As such, driving during winter in the UK can have you overwhelmed with winter driving anxiety, especially if you are a less experienced driver and it is your first winter on roads in the United Kingdom. Fortunately, we offer some great tips and advice on navigating the different challenges and staying safe when driving during this winter season.
1. Keep Your Distance
The stopping distance increases substantially when the roads are covered in snow or ice. Experts suggest leaving a 10+ gap instead of the standard 2 seconds, but even this might not suffice for all situations. Nevertheless, the idea is to avoid driving too close to the vehicle in front of you to ensure you have enough room to stop during an emergency. Also, check your vehicle’s brakes to make sure all is well. Check out our blog about braking safely to learn more.
2. Drive In A Higher Gear
Sticking to the higher gears allows you to have more control of your car. For instance, consider pulling away in second gear if the roads are too icy and your vehicle struggles to move. The second gear makes it easier to get going since it throttles lightly, making the wheels grip better.
3. Master Your Lights And Heat Systems
Winters are cold and with shorter days and longer nights. That means drivers will be using more of the lights and heating systems. Hence, it is wise to check the lights on your work and the heating system to ensure they are working correctly before starting each journey. Learn which ones are ideal for which weather condition. Moreover, check the heat controls to ensure you de-ice the car and prevent your windscreen and windows from getting misty, and having no heat in your vehicle when driving makes things complicated and risky. And we are not talking about the AC, but also having heated seats helps.
4. Check Your Tyres
Your tires will not grip the road as they should during winter. Therefore, you should hit the roads in the UK with tires that are in pristine condition. The standard tread dept is a minimum of 1.6mm, but your vehicle will experience less grip when the tire treads are under 3mm. It is best to replace them when the winter season arrives.
Consider changing to winter tires, which offer better grip, meaning better traction on icy roads. The tires are a wise investment, especially if you drive regularly and your budget allows. Conversely, adding chains to your tires can also help improve traction.
5. Take Your Time
Rushing during winter in the UK increases the chances of accidents, especially among inexperienced drivers. Therefore, it is best to consider watching your time and doing things to avoid the last-minute rush. Driving in the snow or ice demands taking your time to understand the conditions and managing your time to ensure you are headed to your respective My Hotel Break Harrogate destination as early as possible.
6. Black Ice
Black ice is a term that motorists dread hearing when on the roads. The ice is invisible and is a risk for drivers because it makes it hard to control vehicles after they run over the black ice unexpectedly. Motorists find it challenging to avoid the black ice because they can spot it in time to maneuver their cars on the frozen road safely. That is why experts recommend driving slow and steady when on icy roads.
7. Responding To A Skid
So, what do you do once you hit some black ice that sends your car skidding? Maintain both hands on the steering wheel and do not hit the brakes when the vehicle loses control. Also, try to steer the vehicle into the skid; it allows you to manage the wheels straight and could bet you back on track.
Panic might rush in when you realize your vehicle is out of control, but remember to maintain your cool. Please take note of the surroundings and execute the trick we have shared. Consider taking a winter driving course if you want to be well-prepared to drive during icy conditions and hone skid control.
8. Prep For Wind, Rain, And Fog
Winters are not all about snow and ice; heavy rain, fog, and wind will also concern drivers. Visit our blog to go through the various tips and tricks we share on how to drive in these conditions. Our top recommendation would be to slow down to control your car better and keep both hands on the steering wheel. In addition, stay alert and do not panic if you experience some skidding. Such weather conditions will make it difficult to see the road ahead. Winds and fog will also make things challenging for motorists.
9. Top Up Your Fuel
Some drivers will notice their fuel gauge suggesting it is time for a top-up but will overlook it and decide to do so on their next drive. However, winter is never the right time to pull such stunts. You will regret breaking down out there when the conditions are chilly, more so when the issue could have been avoided if you had topped up your fuel. Experts suggest having a half-full tank when driving in winter.
10. Carry A Breakdown Kit
Your driving course taught you the significance of always having a breakdown kit in your vehicle, but this might not be a priority for you. Still, it is wise to heed this recommendation lest you find yourself stuck on the side of a road with little traffic that could offer some help. Your breakdown kit should include a cozy blanket to help you keep warm because you will not have any heat if your car is not running. Pack some non-perishable snacks to avoid being famished, water, backup power for your phone (which should be fully charged), a torch, and equipment for doing minor repairs that could get you back on the road.