- Allow time to clear all of your windows and roof of snow
- Plan your route to favour major roads which are more likely to have been cleared and gritted.
- Use a cigarette lighter to warm a key for a frozen lock. Breathing on it will make it worse.
Driving in snow and ice
- Leave as much space as possible behind the car in front.
- Wear dry shoes for driving. Snow-covered boots will slip on the pedals.
- Pull away in second gear, easing your foot off the clutch gently to avoid wheel-spin.
- Try to keep a constant speed up hills and avoid stopping or changing gear where possible.
- Reduce your speed before going downhill and use a low gear. Use breaks sparingly and gently.
- If you get stuck, straighten the steering and clear the snow from the wheels. Put a sack or old rug in front of the driving wheels to give the tyres some grip.
Battery and electrics
- Avoid using the heater fan, lights, rear screen heater and wipers any longer than necessary to preserve battery life.
- Turn off non-essential electrical loads like lights, rear screen heater and wipers before trying to start the engine.
- Use the starter in short five-second bursts if the engine doesn’t start quickly, leaving thirty seconds between attempts to allow the battery to recover.
- Use antifreeze and ensure it is within its use-by date.
- Check the manual to ensure you are using the right type of anti-freeze. Don’t mix types.
- You need a 50-50 mix of antifreeze and water in the cooling system for winter.
- A continuous squealing noise as soon as the engine is started is a sign the water pump is frozen – the cylinder block could be frozen too. Stop the engine immediately and allow it to thaw out over several days (shorter in a heated garage).
- If the car begins to overheat a few miles from home it is likely that the radiator has frozen. Stop straight away and allow the radiator to thaw.
- Clear snow from all windows and the roof.
- Ensure windscreen is clean inside and out. Sun glare can be a real problem in the winter.
- Use air conditioning for faster demisting and to reduce condensation on cold windows.
- Top up windscreen washer fluid and treat with a suitable additive to reduce the chance of freezing. Do not use ordinary engine antifreeze as it will damage paintwork.
- Use at least 2mm tread tyres (ideally 3mm).
- Do not reduce tyre pressure to get more grip – it does not work.
- Consider changing to winter or all season tyres.