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How to Make Sure You're Driving Legally in Winter

Ellie Dyer-Brown, 11 months ago

5 min read

Winter Driving

Along with treacherous road conditions, winter weather can cause developing faults in your car to become exposed, threatening the overall condition of your vehicle.

Winter has a reputation for pushing vehicles to their limit and transforming roads into scenes of chaos. That's why we're on hand to make sure you're driving both legally and safely as the temperatures begin to drop

A few simple checks can ensure that your car is free of any faults and doesn't require any servicing. Many of these winter driving safety tips can be carried out year long, however, it is really important that they are practiced throughout the colder months.

Here are our top winter safety tips:

1. If your car is due a service, make sure it gets done before winter hits.

As mentioned above, any problems developing in your car will amplify over winter. Nip them in the bud with a service and repair before the jobs become more costly.

2. Check your car battery.

Winter places a much larger drain on your car battery than the milder months, so it's a priority to check your car’s battery before the season gets in full swing.

3. Check your screenwash.

Screen wash level should be continually checked and topped up throughout the season.

4. Check windscreen wipers.

Windscreen wipers are important for maintaining good visibility of the road, ensuring the safety of passengers in your vehicle. The Highway Code states that when driving in adverse weather conditions you must, by law, be able to see out of every glass panel in your vehicle. Failure to do so could result in a fine.

5. Consider winter tyres.

Winter tyres provide a lot more protection in bad driving conditions, as they offer a lot more grip than standard tyres.

6. Check your antifreeze.

Top up your engine coolant with antifreeze before the bad weather hits for top winter car care. Engine coolant should be around a 50/50 mix of water and antifreeze.

7. Make sure all your lights are in working order.

Functioning lights are essential as the days grow shorter. You should check that your indicators, rear reflectors and lights are clean and have no cracks in the lenses. It is in law that all lights and number plates are clearly visible.

8. Check your tyre treads.

Tyre tread must have a minimum depth of 1.6mm, which can be roughly measured at home using a 20p coin. If the coin can be submerged in the tread, you’re good to go! Lack of tyre tread depth can result in fines reaching up to £10,000, not to mention a lack of road safety. Keep tyres in suitable condition to make sure you're driving legally in winter.

9. Keep a winter breakdown kit.

Make sure you always have the following items in your vehicle throughout winter:

  • Phone and charger.

  • High-visibility vest.

  • First aid kit.

  • De-icer and scraper.

  • Shovel.

  • Tow rope.

  • Torch.

  • Warm clothes.

  • Food and drink.

A top tip for driving in winter is to always act smoothly and gently, whether that be in acceleration, steering or breaking.

A common myth in winter car care is that you must avoid washing your car in the bad weather. In fact, removing grime that builds up in bad weather prevents rust from forming as well as any corrosion.

It's always best to be cautious when driving during Winter - avoid putting repairs off.