Part 1 of our New Series of Top Tips for Preparing to Drive During the Winter Months

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In recent years, we haven’t had a lot of what you’d call a ‘traditional winter’. Most of the time, it’s been cold and wet, with occasional frosts. But whichever winter decides to show its face, you’re going to need to get your prep right before you take the car out. If you don’t, you could find yourself stuck, stranded or worse.

So, strap yourself in (rule number one – always strap yourself in!), and get ready for some winter driving top tips.

Rainy and Murky Conditions

Before you put the key in the ignition, make sure:

  • You clean your windows thoroughly. You may have picked up dirt and grime from mucky winter roads on previous journeys, so make sure that you give those panes a good wipe-down before you set out. The police can stop and fine you if your windscreen isn’t clear.
  • You use a really good micro-fibre cloth to wipe the windows on the inside. Try not to use your hands or the sleeve of your coat – it’s not effective and can end up smearing dirt and grime across the glass, rather than taking it away.
  • You use your air-con or windscreen demist setting if you have it. It’ll help to clear moisture inside your car
  • Your windscreen wipers are in good condition, otherwise they may leave annoying smears or streaks. If your wipers are worn, replace them and enjoy the clear view that comes with your new kit!
  • Keep your washer bottle topped up and use a brand of screenwash that includes anti-freeze. This’ll reduce the chances of it freezing in cold weather.

In Snow and Ice

All of the above is still relevant, but there are a few more things to think about:

  • Clear the snow and ice from your windows before you even think about driving. The most effective way to do this is with de-icer spray and a good quality scraper, so make sure you have these items in your winter driving kit. Whatever you do, don’t run inside, fill up the kettle and throw the boiling water all over your car. Not only will this cause the windscreen glass to expand – and maybe even crack – but it may also leave pools of water on your drive or the road. These pools can quickly freeze and create an additional hazard for other road users.
  • Clear any snow from the roof of your car, as this can slide down the windscreen and rear window, obstructing your view. It can also fly off, causing irritation and a potential hazard to pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists and other drivers.
  • Make sure your windscreen is free of snow and ice before you use the wipers. Otherwise, you could damage the wiper blades.
  • Use your heated rear (and front if you have one) screens. This will quickly clear ice and snow on the outside as well as moisture on the inside.

More on the Way

We hope you enjoyed this first round of winter driving tips. Come back soon for the next exciting instalment  - or if you can’t wait that long, hop on over to the Safe Driving for Life shop and pick yourself up a copy of Driving – the essential skills. It’s packed full of advice on how to drive safely in all kinds of conditions and is the perfect companion for every stage of your driving life.