Winter driving tips 

Be informed

  • Check if the roads you will be using are on the salting route - remember, 40% of the network is treated in icy conditions but reconsider your route/journey if your route is not salted
  • Check the up-to-date information from our travel centre
  • Follow us on Twitter, and receive the latest travel information
  • Listen to local and national radio for travel and weather information
  • Follow the Highway Code when driving in adverse weather conditions

Be careful

  • We all need to take extra care when driving during winter, and if conditions are bad, you should only travel if it is necessary
  • Heavy traffic and congestion will hold up or prevent gritting lorries and snow ploughs from doing their job. Please try and avoid driving immediately (about two hours) before the snow is forecast to arrive. This will allow the gritting lorries to clear the roads a lot quicker  
  • Be aware of pedestrians and cyclists, keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front and drive at appropriate speeds
  • Overtaking vehicles in wintry conditions can be extremely dangerous. Try to keep your distance from other vehicles and be patient, allowing extra time for your journey
  • Take extra care around gritting lorries and snow ploughs. These vehicles are making conditions better for you. They could make unexpected manoeuvres
  • Even if the road is clear or looks treated please take extra care because salting does not guarantee the road is free from ice
  • Remember to take regular breaks from driving - tiredness and loss of concentration are major contributing factors to road accidents
  • Plan ahead. If you are in charge of staff at work, have a contingency plan before the bad weather arrives. You can then assess if your staff can work from home or more local to home, meaning they will not need to travel in bad weather
  • The common cause of congestion during snow conditions is vehicles not being prepared for winter and breaking down or getting stuck – please see our guide below to make sure your vehicle is ready
  • If it is essential for you to travel in snow conditions, consider fitting winter tyres, as they will give you improved traction. For useful information, please see recommendations from the British Tyre Manufacturers Association.

Be vigilant

The most common cause of breakdowns in winter is associated with battery problems. Greater reliance on car heaters and lights means motorists are twice as likely to suffer a flat battery in winter as they are in the summer. The AA estimates that half of all breakdowns could be prevented if motorists serviced their vehicles at recommended intervals and carried out some basic checks.

  • Your tyres are at the correct pressures and there is sufficient tread - a minimum of 4mm is recommended in snow conditions
  • Your vehicle lights are clean and working
  • Your wiper blades are effective
  • Your battery is in good condition and fully charged
  • Your vehicle anti-freeze is the right concentration (your garage can do this for you)
  • Your windows and mirrors are clear of ice or condensation

Be prepared

Keep the following in your car:

  • Ice scraper
  • De-icer
  • Torch
  • Warm clothes
  • Blanket
  • Shovel
  • Food & drink
  • High visibility jacket
  • First aid kit