Institute of Advanced Motorists Top Tips For Driving In Winter Weather

Driving tip Number 47 21 November 2008

By Alan Brown

With blizzards and plunging temperatures over the winter months, the IAM (Institute of Advanced Motorists) has warned of the increased danger for road users. If the weather is bad, drive only if it is necessary. If the journey is necessary, drivers should ensure their car is properly prepared and they know how to cope with changing road conditions. IAM advice for motorists driving in bad winter weather conditions is:

  • Take it slow and allow extra time for the journey, even if it is the usual work or school run. Other traffic on the road will be driving slower.
  • In snow or ice, slow down and keep well back from the vehicle in front. When roads are slippery, it will take ten times longer to stop so drivers need to look a long way ahead and plan to move lanes as necessary.
  • Use low gears to help keep traction, especially on hills, and use gears to restrain speed on downhill sections to avoid the need to brake.
  • The road in front of vehicles clearing snow is likely to be worse than the road behind. Don't pass these vehicles.
  • Check the windscreen washer is topped up with windscreen washer fluid for the appropriate outside temperature and that the wiper blades are clean. Drivers also need a clear view out of all windows not just the windscreen.
  • Turn on headlights to see and be seen. Bad weather causes poor visibility for all motorists.
  • Pack an emergency kit (such as warm outdoor clothes, a reflective jacket, a torch, and a fully charged mobile phone). Drivers should remember to be cautious at all times, check the weather forecast before heading off on their journey, and prepare for familiar, short journeys as well as long ones.

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