Driving in Winter is Snow Joke! Find Out Why…

Written by Tim
It’s snowing outside and the weather forecast predicts more is on the way. Whether you’re catching a flight to warmer climes or simply visiting friends, become a winter warrior with our top tips for travelling in the snow.

Winter wonderland or driving nightmare?

Winter wonderland or driving nightmare?

Tweet before you leap

Avoid becoming a statistic. Last year saw thousands of travellers stranded in their cars for hours, and even days. Missing a work day isn’t great, but missing your flight for a well-deserved holiday just sucks. Keep up to date with these tools and you’ll soon be sunning yourself on the beach rather than shivering in the cold.

  • Airport Twitter Feeds – Most UK airports have Twitter accounts that they update regularly informing of delays and closures.
  • Airport Telephone Numbers – Unsure of airport closures? Give them a ring before you jump in the car.

Pimp your ride before you drive

On a normal day the airport may only be an hours drive away, but snow and ice can turn the simplest of journeys into a living nightmare. With a few of these simple precautions, you can be prepared for almost any situation.

Check your car credentials before setting off

Check your car's credentials before setting off

  • Check your engine coolant. Ensure that your vehicle has the right amount of anti-freeze to deal with the dipping temperatures.
  • Top up your windscreen fluid. If in doubt a little more windscreen cleaning fluid is better than too little – it’ll stop it freezing.
  • Fill up your tank. A full fuel tank is a must – if you get stuck or stranded, the fuel in the tank is all that you have to keep the in-car heaters running.
  • Stay snug as a bug in a rug. Pack a blanket and ensure you have warm clothing. It sounds extreme but many that got stuck last year for a day or more wish they had.
  • Charge your phone and grab an in-car charger. There’s nothing worse than a low battery when you need it most.
  • Pack some snacks and drinks. A stash of flapjacks and some non-alcoholic drinks will see you through until help arrives.
  • Snow chains might help. Last year saw a boom in the sales of snow chains in the UK. If you own them or plan to buy some, do you know how to fit them?

It’s as simple as A to B – or is it?

Work out 2 or 3 alternative routes to your destination so that if you do hit a dead end, you already know what alternative options are open to you.

Deer in the road

Oh deer!

Road closures and diversions are a common occurrence when the snow arrives. There’s always a good chance that the most direct route may become impassable for one reason or another. Before setting out, quickly check some of the near real-time traffic services to find out which routes are open and where traffic is flowing freely.

Driving on the slippery stuff

Driving in fresh snow isn’t great but it becomes a lot trickier as it compacts, turning to ice. You don’t have to be a world class rally driver, simply follow these simple tips and you’ll stand a better chance of reaching your destination trouble free.

Speeding car in the snow

Winter is not the time to drive like Lewis Hamilton

Don’t brake if the car starts sliding. Even if they’re anti-lock. Straighten your wheels then ease off the accelerator, this should help transfer the weight forward and help you to regain traction.

Don’t accelerate if you’re stuck in the snow. An ice patch will form under the tyres making it harder to get out. Try pulling out your floor mats and shove them under your tyres. Rock the car back and forth gently to get your wheels on the mats, then gently accelerate off. You may have other items in the boot that you may be able to use such as a camping blanket.

Don’t tailgate the car ahead in low visibility. Although following the brake lights of the car in front is an attractive idea – it’s a recipe for disaster. Turn on your low beam headlamps and fog lights. Dim interior lights including dashboard instruments if you can as this will help with exterior visibility. Probably the most important thing is if you can’t see the road, pull over. If you can’t see the road ahead or the road signs, it’s too dangerous. You may only need to wait for a short time before being able to resume your journey.

For more tips on driving in winter weather, check out the following websites:-

Spend a little, save a lot

Protect yourself from financial losses or expensive bills by investing in some decent travel cover. No matter how well prepared you are, there’s no telling how bad the weather may get or how other vehicles around you will react.

Don't get caught out, get covered by the AA - not snow!

Don't get caught out, get covered by the AA - not snow!

Get Breakdown Cover. Most cover and rescue services are well equipped to deal with roadside breakdowns and if things can’t be fixed, depending on the level of cover you have, they’ll even tow you to your destination or back to your home address, even if it is across the other side of the country.

Grab your Travel Insurance. A good travel insurance policy is a must as these should cover you if you’re not able to reach the airport because of weather conditions or an accident. When taking out a travel insurance policy, read the small print or ask to make sure that these situations are covered.

Be wary of abandoning your car

If you get stuck in snow just a few miles from home or your destination, you might be tempted to continue your journey on foot. One word of warning – during last years heavy snow, thousands of stranded drivers found themselves with unexpected bills after their vehicles were towed away and put into storage.

And finally…

If you do get stuck in the snow don’t do this!

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