Christmas Driving

Whilst we may not have to experience the freezing cold winter temperatures some countries face, our winter conditions still offer challenges when it comes to driving. To stay safe on the roads over the festive period, it is important to prepare your car and yourself for the difficult conditions that you may have to face.

Before you set off

In winter, it is important that you are prepared for whatever could face you so before setting off on any journeys you should do your research.

Firstly, check the weather forecast and if there is heavy snow or other difficult conditions you should avoid travelling.

If there is a risk of the road surfaces being icy, thawing or flooded, make sure that you plan your route across main roads and avoid smaller lanes which may not be cleared or gritted.

You should also take a look at traffic reports, as the Christmas period frequently leads to extra traffic on the roads. If you do find that roads are busier than expected whilst driving, always put your safety above your punctuality and do not increase your speed to make up the time.


Prepare your vehicle

As well as being prepared yourself, you need to ensure that your vehicle is up to the task of driving in winter conditions. The main areas to keep an eye on are:

  • Tyres  - it is important that your tyres have at least 3mm of tread so that they can offer you the grip you require on slippery surfaces. You also need to ensure that your tyre pressure is correct and regularly inspect your tyres for any damage. Take a look at our advice for further information about checking your tyres this winter.
  • Battery  - most car breakdowns in winter are due to battery failure so it is necessary to have yours checked by a specialist this winter if it is over two years old or you spot any signs of battery failure which include it struggling to turn over and dimmer lights. You can have your battery checked free at your local Setyres centre.
  • Engine Fluid Levels – every few weeks you should check that your engine oil, anti-freeze and screenwash meet sufficient levels and if not they should be topped up.


Winter Car Checklist

To ensure that you can cope in emergency situations this winter, it is a good idea to carry a few essentials with you. These include:

  • Blankets and warm clothing in case of a breakdown.
  • A torch to assist you in case of running into difficulties in the dark.
  • A scraper to ensure that you always have clear visibility.
  • An in-car phone charger so that you can contact others in emergency situations.
  • A bottle of water which can keep you hydrated or be used as a substitute for engine coolant or screenwash if necessary.


Driving in Winter

Winter conditions should signal a change in your driving behaviour as you will need to make allowances for changing weather and difficult road conditions.

It is important to bear in mind that braking distances increase on slippery surfaces so you should be leaving a larger gap than usual to the vehicle in front of you, especially whilst driving up or down hill.

Give yourself extra time for journeys in winter as it is advisable to take your time on the road if it is snowing, raining, thawing or freezing. This is because you will need extra time to react in these situations.


Stay safe on the road this Christmas and be prepared for all situations. For further winter driving advice or if you have any concerns as to whether your vehicle will be able to cope, contact your local Setyres branch to make an appointment. 


Posted on: 24/12/2015

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