Tips for Winter Driving

Winter Driving Tips – Staying Safe on the Road

Winter Driving Tips

The winter can be a dangerous time in terms of the weather, and driving on the road is no different. It can be a highly difficult time for new drivers, especially to drive on the road, as dangerous conditions such as ice and snow can cause serious hazards for motorists. Breakdowns are more common in the winter and conditions can be extremely challenging, so it’s important to take precautions and stay safe while on the road.

Car insurance provider, Admiral, spoke to 2,000 motorists in the UK about driving and weather conditions. The survey found almost a quarter of Brits (23%) have been involved in a car accident after driving in severe winter weather conditions, including snow, black ice, fog, flood water, thunderstorms and heavy rain, and high winds.

We have created this Winter Driving Guide filled with driving tips to help keep you safe in the winter and keep your car in good order when facing these difficult conditions.

If you have any concerns and wish to visit us, then why not visit our garage. We can discuss with you all the issues that can be posed by the winter months, as well as have a look at your car and carry out free tyre checks. If you are looking for tyres in Newport or any of our other services – get in touch with our team today.

Snow & Ice Can Be Extremely Dangerous

At some point or another, experienced motorists are highly likely to have experienced black ice or snow, however newer motorists may have not faced the difficulties that can be posed in the winter. One out of every ten (10%) surveyed motorists reported being involved in a car accident caused by black ice on the roads, according to Admiral. The most important thing when facing these conditions is to take it very slow. If there are dangerous conditions, other motorists will often activate their hazard lights and slow down to give pre warning – this can be a good thing to do for fellow motorists should you encounter slush, ice or extreme snowfall in an area that has not been gritted. As a general rule of thumb:

  • Back roads can be extremely dangerous as they are highly likely to have not been gritted in some areas.
  • Ensure that you wear dry and comfortable shoes when driving and dry shoes before driving if you have been walking through snow.
  • Leave a lot of room when driving uphill, and try to avoid switching gears by staying in motion.
  • Leave as much space as possible when going downhill and avoid using the brakes, staying in low gear.
  • If you get stuck, centralise steering and clear the wheels. Put something in front of the wheels, such as a sack, to give them grip.
  • Automatic vehicles may have winter modes, so check your handbook.

Tyres Are Highly Important in the Winter

Tyres may be responsible for a wide range of issues. If you have heard some advice to let down tyre pressure to increase grip, DO NOT FOLLOW THIS ADVICE. This is incorrect and is dangerous to ensure that you do not do this as this may cause issues when on the road. As your tyres are the only thing keeping you safe when on the road, you will want to make sure you are keeping on top of tyre checks in the winter especially. If you are going to opt to use tyre chains – ensure that there is enough snow, or you may damage the road. 

Don’t neglect your car battery this winter

Next, let’s focus on your battery’s winter readiness. If you are unsure, please bring it into a shop to get the battery tested. Even though it may start at warmer temperatures, the performance of a battery drastically reduces when in freezing temperatures. I’ve had multiple customers have their cars towed in, regretting not replacing their battery because it still started their car (until it didn’t). The last thing you want is to be stuck with a dead battery in the middle of winter.

Windscreen Wipers and Screen Wash

Up next, we’ll tackle windscreen wipers and washer fluid for improved winter visibility. Change the windscreen wipers to make sure they are in good condition. Also, buy the proper screen wash fluid rated for the season’s temperature to ensure it doesn’t freeze. Keep a snow brush or scraper in your vehicle for clearing windows, as it’s dangerous to drive around without clear visibility.

Check Antifreeze Strength

Test your car engine coolant / antifreeze to make sure it can handle the lower ambient air temperatures. Coolant that can’t protect against freezing may lead to engine damage.

Oil Change

Consider changing the engine oil before winter. Fresh oil tends to flow better in cold weather, providing better lubrication for your engine.

Test Brake Fluid

Use litmus papers to test your brake fluid. Some brake fluids can absorb water, and this absorbed water may freeze in freezing temperatures, and affect a vehicle’s braking. If you can’t recall when you last flushed your brakes, it’s probably time to consider it.

Inspect the Charging System

Have your vehicle’s battery and alternator tested at a trusted car parts store. Installing a trickle charger is an excellent way to keep the battery warm and ensure it starts reliably, especially in cold weather.

Prepare a Winter Emergency Kit

Staying Safe When Driving on the Road


Nearly one-fifth (18%) of the drivers admitted that they would take the risk of driving despite the issuance of a red weather warning. Before setting out, ensure that somebody knows that you are travelling on the road. If anything happens – they can get in touch with you, so it’s vital that you bring a phone that is fully charged to either call them or a breakdown company if anything goes wrong. Ensure that you are not at risk of running low on petrol or diesel. 

If you have to travel in dangerous conditions, take:

  • Warm clothing and waterproof clothing so that if you do face a breakdown, you can stay warm.
  • Snacks – you may wish to take warm foods as well, such as a mug of soup or a coffee, to keep you warm.
  • Hi-vis jacket and warning triangles, so other motorists can see you in poor conditions.
  • Jump leads in case you need help starting your car.
  • A shovel to shovel snow if you get stuck.

In your winter emergency kit, pack the following:

  • Ensure that your phone is fully charged and pack a charging pack. Make sure to use hands-free or pull over if you need to make a call or get a passenger to make the call, as you need to have full concentration.
  • If you are on an unfamiliar route – take your Sat Nav or a road map.
  • Sunglasses can help with the glare of the sun and the sun can reflect off of snow and this can be very bright and distracting.
  • Taking an empty fuel can help if you run out of fuel, as you are able to head to a petrol station for a top-up if needed.
  • It’s always a great idea to have a first aid kit in your car, so if you are thinking about going on a trip in dangerous conditions – make sure that you have a fully stocked first aid kit.


How to Open Frozen Door Locks?

To stop your door locks from freezing during cold nights, try this simple trick. After washing your car, close the doors just one click, allowing the door to move slightly but not open fully. Then, take a short drive to allow everything to freeze slightly. Open the door and slam it shut; this will help break the ice off the hinges, ensuring your doors don’t freeze shut.


Extra Winter Car Care Tips

Lift Wipers

Lift your wipers when parking the car for the night to prevent them from freezing to the wind shield.

Silicone Spray Lubricant

Use silicone spray lubricant on the rubber seals of your car doors to prevent them from freezing shut.


Depending on the winter climate in your area, consider getting your vehicle rust-proofed once a year, ideally in the spring, to protect against corrosion.

Use Rain-X

Apply Rain-X to your windscreen and windows. This can make it more difficult for water to freeze onto the glass, making it easier to remove and improving visibility.


It’s highly advised to avoid travelling in winter conditions, but sometimes – you have to travel. We hope that these tips help you if you have to travel in the winter time and if you have any concerns about your vehicle, need to book your MOT or want to arrange for a free tyre check – get in touch with our team now! We also offer tyres in Cwmbran and tyres in Newport so get in touch now!

Autocentres are all about friendly and helpful vehicle services!

Autocentres are all about friendly and helpful vehicle services!

If you need some advice, please call us