Top ten tips for driving in winter weather

top winter weather driving tips

With weather forecasters predicting snow and below freezing temperatures across the UK this winter, Airport Parking and Hotels (APH), the leading airport parking specialist, is helping motorists plan ahead with a selection of top tips for driving in winter weather conditions.

The North and East of the UK are expected to receive particularly bad weather and drivers in Scotland should be especially careful with temperatures scheduled to drop as low as -18C. With the number of breakdowns nearly doubling during bad weather conditions, drivers should be extra cautious and plan ahead for all types of weather

Top ten winter driving tips include:

  • The most common cause of breakdowns during the winter months is the car battery failing, so make sure you check the battery is fully charged and in good condition. If the battery is near to or over five years old, then get it checked or better still, replace with a new one to avoid unplanned failures.
  • Ensure all windows and lights are completely cleared of ice and dirt, and check the windscreen wipers are clean and in a good working condition.
  • During particularly cold periods, avoid the water pump and engine freezing by adding a 50-50 mixture of water and engine anti-freeze to the cooling system.
  • Make sure the windscreen washer fluid is topped up with a suitable anti-freeze solution
  • Motoring Organisations recommends tyres to have at least 3mm of tread during winter driving, and no less than 2mm, so be safe and make sure the tread depth is at least 3mm.
  • Prevent doors freezing shut by applying a thin coat of polish or Vaseline on rubber door seals. A squirt of water dispersant (WD-40) in locks will also help to stop them from freezing.
  • Stopping distances are 10 times longer in snow so make sure you keep enough space between you and the vehicle in front.
  • If you do need to brake in icy conditions, brake slowly to avoid skidding. If your wheels start to lock, take your foot off the break.
  • Be prepared for breakdowns, make sure you have a torch, road atlas, red warning triangle, warm coat and sensible shoes or boots and change for a pay phone (in case there is no mobile phone reception) in the car.
  • Plan ahead – give yourself at least 10 minutes to prepare the car before departure and plan your route to favour major roads over small ones, which will be well lit and gritted.


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