Even if you’re an experienced driver, the dark nights, ice or snow can make driving during the winter months extremely challenging. So, we asked some members of our team from our Sheffield dealership for their top tips and dos and don’ts when driving in winter.
Mike Brewer – Director
Well there are so many tips I could give, but I’ll stick to the key ones that I always try to follow!
- Set off ten minutes earlier during winter, because you may need to de-ice your car and the driving conditions may be poor. Keep an ice scraper and lots of de-icer in your car too.
- My second tip is to make sure that you keep your tyres inflated correctly. Your car manual will tell you what pressure to set them to.
- Make sure you clean the lights on your car and keep them free of dirt. If it snows, remember that you need to clear the snow from your lights as well as from the roof, otherwise you’ll run the risk of a hefty fine if you drive with snow on your roof!
- Have a good quality screen wash that specifies it is for use in colder temperatures and keep a spare bottle in your boot, because I get through bottles of the stuff during winter!
- Finally, keep a torch in your car (and spare batteries for it!), as well as a high-vis jacket, in case you break down.
Ellick Smith – Valet Manager
- Do regular checks on your headlights and keep them clean. It’s best to get a friend to help you check that all the lights are still working.
- I keep a blanket and some food in the car, in case it breaks down or in case you get stuck somewhere!
- My final tip would be if you can afford it then get snow or winter tyres fitted on your car. If you can’t afford it, then make sure your tyres are pumped up correctly and that they have plenty of tread left on them.
Colin Lawton – Progress Chaser
I learnt how to drive in these conditions in Canada and various locations around the world! I was a Driver Trainer in the Army and used to teach these techniques to other soldiers, so driving in snow or ice doesn’t faze me, in fact I like the challenge.
- Keep to the main roads and bus routes where you can, because it is more likely that they will have been gritted. Plus, with more traffic on those roads it will help to melt the snow faster than on B roads.
- If your car has a ‘traction control’ setting, the best thing to do is to turn it off if the roads are icy or snowy. Otherwise, leaving it on could make your car slide around or get stuck, due to the traction control cutting the power when power is needed.
- Take your car to a local garage for a winter health check. They often have offers on, so it shouldn’t cost you too much.
- Make sure your mobile phone is charged and keep some warm clothes in your boot, in case you break down.
- I also buy a big tub of table salt and keep that in the car, so if you are stuck in snow you put the salt around your wheels and it melts the snow.
Wayne Lindley – Operations Manager
- The first thing to do is to check the traffic information before you set off, in case you need to change your route and like Mike said, I’d also leave ten minutes earlier than normal.
- If you’re driving in snow then I recommend keeping in as low as gear as possible and try to move off in second gear.
- My final tip is to put the air-con on when you start your car, because it really speeds up demisting your windscreen!
Watch our video! Mike Brewer demonstrates how to do some basic vehicle health checks on your car, to keep your car safe, efficient and on the road.