Driving in the winter can be extremely daunting, especially during adverse weather conditions like snow and ice.

But fortunately you don’t have to be a professional driver to have a safe journey in the colder months! All you must remember to do is to prepare by doing 8 quick and simple things before setting off.

  1. Check for travel updates – If conditions are bad, you can keep up to date on any road closures or accidents by listening to a local radio station or searching online. Then plan a route accordingly – try to avoid congested areas, but stick to places where the roads are clear and safe.
  2. Make sure your journey is essential – Sometimes a quick pop to the shops when it’s snowing isn’t a good idea. If the weather is bad, evaluate whether you really need to drive or if it would be best to just stay at home.
  3. Ensure your car is clear of snow and ice – Though it might be a pain, it is actually an offence to drive with snow on the roof or bonnet of your car. This is because if any falls off when driving, it causes potential risk to other drivers. Also, use a scraper and de-icer to make sure you can see out of all of your windows. Otherwise, you put yourself and others in danger, as well as leaving yourself vulnerable to receiving a fine and penalty points.
  4. Top up on anti-freeze – Make sure to check engine coolant levels constantly during the winter. If it needs topping up – use ½ distilled water and ½ anti-freeze. This ensures the water doesn’t freeze in cold conditions, while also preventing the engine from overheating.
  5. Check your tyres – It is essential that every tyre’s pressure meets the manufacturer’s recommended level; check your vehicle’s handbook for this information. Also, tyre tread depth must be above the legal minimum (which is 1.6mm across the central 3/4 of the tyre, around its entire circumference). It can seriously affect braking distances, so replace your tyres if needed – better safe than sorry!
  6. Take an emergency kit – You can buy a pre-made emergency kit from various shops or you could make your own. Include necessities such as: high visibility clothing, torch, food, shovel, warning triangle, blanket and a warm drink in a travel cup (just in case you get stuck!).
  7. Bring a fully charged phone – It is vital you bring a mobile in case of an emergency. Make sure to have your breakdown company’s number saved! This will make it quicker and easier to get assistance if you suddenly become stranded on your journey.

Preparation is key to a safe and pleasant journey in the winter months; so take note of these vital tips before heading off!

  • Be safe this winter and book one of Stanley Travel’s taxi services. Find out more via stanley-travel.com/taxis or call 01207 230 000 (Stanley), 01207 591 000 (Consett), 0191 306 0606 (Durham).

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