Staying Safe While Driving This Winter

Posted on: 3 December 2021 at 2:40 pm
Staying Safe While Driving

Driving anywhere during winter can present challenges to even the most experienced drivers. It is important to ensure that you feel safe when driving on roads, no matter the season. Here at Got2Insure, we take road safety seriously and our experts have put together some top tips on how to drive safely during winter, regardless of the weather. 

With UK weather being notoriously unpredictable, you never quite know what conditions you could be driving in. One minute it can be gloriously sunny and the next you are in the midst of a hail storm. 

Tips for driving in the rain/snow/ice

When driving in conditions such as rain or snowfall you may find yourself facing poor visibility and an increased risk of skidding. Due to these adverse conditions, it is important to be vigilant during those sudden downpours or icy roads. 

  • Keep your lights on – This helps to improve your visibility in adverse weather conditions. We recommend even turning your lights on during the day, as it can allow you to see rain/snow better and help you avoid any dangerous situations. 
  • Slow your speed – Although it might be tempting, it is important to make sure you slow down when driving during these types of weather conditions as speed can further increase risk. By slowing down you are giving yourself more time to make decisions should anything happen.
  • Use your gears – If you are driving and notice that your steering starts to feel light or your tyres do not make much noise, there is a chance that you are driving on ice. It is important not to panic and to avoid quickly accelerating as this can cause skidding. Instead, put your car in high gear and slowly continue driving, this will help stop you from skidding. 

Top Tip:  If you notice your car starting to skid when driving on wet or icy roads, then steer in the direction that you are skidding. The reason behind this is that when your wheels regain traction, you will not have to overcorrect your steering to continue driving. 

Tips for driving in hail 

Not only can driving in hail affect your visibility, but it can also be incredibly loud and sudden. 

  • Keep your distance – You need to leave at least double the gap you normally would between yourself and the vehicle in front. When the roads are wet it is even more important to make sure you leave yourself ample stopping space. We recommend making your 2 second gap at least 4 seconds. 
  • Take a break – If the hail falling is heavy or coming down in larger pieces, then it could cause damage to your bodywork or create cracks or chips in your windscreen. Driving can increase the risk of damage, so it could be wise to pull over somewhere safe and wait out the hailstorm. 

Tips for driving in fog

Fog can be tricky driving in due to its ability to severely impact visibility and how quickly it can appear. As with the other weather conditions we have mentioned previously, it is important to keep a safe distance and speed when driving in fog. 

  • Use your lights – All cars are fitted with fog lights as standard. Using these lights can help to significantly improve your visibility and also help other drivers see you. Fog lights should be used when visibility is below 100 meters. If visibility is above this then we recommend using your normal lights. 

Top tip: When visibility is low it is important to use your other senses, ie look and listen. By keeping your wits about you, you will be able to concentrate more on the road and be more vigilant. Turn off your radio and drive with your windows down, this way you will also be able to hear other vehicles on the road that are close to you. 

Driving in winter safely 

So before you set off on your journey this winter, it is important to make sure you: 

  • Stay alert 
  • Slow down before taking a turn or bed
  • Accelerate and decelerate slowly to avoid skidding 
  • Avoid stopping too quickly 
  • Allow plenty of space between cars when driving
  • Avoid cruise control

Advice from Highway England 

Highway England Head of Road Safety, Jeremy Phillips said that “Gritters will be out treating our roads around the clock when ice or snow is forecast, but it is still important to drive to the conditions. Keep your distance and reduce your speed, because even in conditions that seem normal and where the snow is not settling, it can be slippery if ice patches have formed, or where fresh grit has not been worked into the carriageway. Drivers should plan their journeys, monitor weather reports, and pack a winter kit of blankets, food, water, and a shovel.”

To find out more about Got2Insure or to speak to one of our experts today about a free quote, please get in touch