Are you driving safe this winter?

Car on a snowy and icy road

If you think driving in the UK all year round is a breeze, then consider what you would do in these scenarios without being prepared:

  1. Stuck in your car for 12 hours due to heavy snow 
  2. Driving down a road with no street lighting 
  3. Coming out from the gym to find a flat tyre

These aren’t scenarios that you are guaranteed to find yourself in, but we can all relate to these situations, either first or second hand. So, what can you do to make sure your driving experiences over winter are as smooth as possible? 

Let’s start with everything you should have in your car over winter. As well as warm clothes, food & water, blankets and sturdy boots, you’ll also want a first aid kit, jump leads, a shovel and the all-important ice-scraper.

Doing a quick check of your lights once a month should be enough to ensure you have full illumination when you need it. Not to mention preventing you from being pulled over by the traffic police!

It’s also worth making sure that your screen wash is topped up with anti-freeze for the colder months. The stronger the concentration, the less chance of it freezing. Also, keeping some de-icer handy makes clearing your frozen windscreen and windows so much easier.

A quick list to take note of

Before each journey (especially long ones), it’s a good idea to go through the POWDERY checklist. The key aspects to check include:

P for Petrol (or diesel) – have you got enough? Do you know where to fill up? If you’re driving an EV car, have you planned for charging locations throughout your journey? 

O For Oil – check your levels once a month via the dipstick. 

W for Water – check radiator and screen wash regularly. Many cars will alert you when levels are getting low, but remember you’ll probably be cleaning your windscreen more frequently in winter!

D for Damage – check your wipers and lights for signs of wear and tear or damage, and make sure windscreen, windows and lights are clear of ice and snow. It is an offence to drive with obstructed or partially obstructed windows!

E for Electrics – check lights, indicators and controls are working properly.

R for Rubber tyres – are they well inflated, legal, with good tread and free from damage?

Y for You – are you fit to drive? Have you slept well? Are you taking any medicine that could make it unsafe for you to drive? Needless to say, do not drive if you have ingested alcohol or other recreational drugs!

Hopefully these hints & tips are a useful check list for all your driving needs. Remember, if the worst happens, we are here to help make sense of the situation and ensure you get the best outcome. Before you say anything, contact us for advice! See our handy links below for more insight.

Additional resources

Transport Scotland

Police Scotland 

The information contained in this blog does not constitute legal advice and should not be acted on as such. This content is based on our understanding in January 2022. Road Traffic Defence are not liable for the information contained on any third-party websites which may be linked to this blog.