Don't get caught out - discover all the checks to make before a journey, top tips and handy products for driving in winter.Shop all winter driving essentials
Before you set off
If you've not driven your car for a while, you might want to pop over to our car maintenance page which has everything you need to check before you hit the road. Regardless of whether you have driven recently or not, no matter the journey, it's important that you have carried out all the main checks to help reduce the chances of a breakdown. Think 'F.O.R.C.E.S.'.
R - rubber
Icy roads, dark nights and reduced visibility make driving more dangerous, so it's crucial to keep your tyres in good condition when driving in winter weather.
•There are legal requirements for tyre treads and if your car doesn't meet these, you'll need to replace them.
•To check the tread of your tyres you'll need a tread depth gauge. Insert into the tread to take a reading. The minimum legal requirement for passenger vehicles is 1.6mm, but for wintery conditions, 3mm is advised.
•There aren't any legal requirements for tyre pressure, but well-inflated tyres will help improve fuel efficiency and make handling easier.
•Look at winter or all-weather tyres as an option. They're that bit more durable and specifically designed to withstand winter conditions.
Emergency breakdown kit
The RAC recommends you keep the following items in your car in preparation for an emergency, especially during the winter months.
- Some warm clothes and blankets.
- Some food and drink.
- A pair of boots that have good grip.
- An in-car phone charger - and a portable battery charger.
- Two reflective warning signs.
- An empty fuel can.
- A torch and some spare batteries.
- An ice scraper and some de-icer.
- A high-visibility jacket.
- A first aid kit - ideally including sterile cleansing wipes, washproof plasters, dressings, scissors, surgical gloves and a resuscitation face shield.
- A set of jump start cables.
- A shovel.
- A road atlas.
- A pair of sunglasses to protect from the low winter sun.
Our emergency breakdown kit it a great way to get yourself started.
Heated car seat
Travel in style with a heated car seat cover, to keep you warm and cosy during wintery journeys.
Driving on ice and snow
If the roads are icy or covered in snow, our best advice would be to avoid driving when possible. If driving is unavoidable, bear in mind the following.
•Stopping distance can increase by as much as 10 times than dry conditions, so allow plenty of room between you and the car in front.
•Take your time. There may be patches of invisible ice that could be treacherous.
•Be gentle with the brakes and use the gears to slow down so not to risk skidding.
•Remove snow and frost from all windows, you need as much visibility as possible.
•Have your lights on. Even if it's daylight, dull days reduce visibility.