Rain, snow, hail and gales are all some of the delights of winter driving – and all pose risks to your safety unless you know what you’re doing. Statistics show that road accidents increase during the winter months as conditions on the roads are more hazardous.
If you must drive, then the key to staying safe on the streets during winter is planning, preparation and a trip to Halfords.
Here are some essential tips from the experts at Halfords on how to stay safe whilst driving this winter.
Driving at night
Early nights and later mornings mean that many of us find our commutes begin and end in darkness. While we’re all used to driving in the dark, during the winter, the risks are higher as more of us are driving in the dark for longer.
Visibility is critical, so regularly check that all your bulbs are working. If you’re worried about your car, our Free Halfords Car Check will identify any busted bulbs or other driving defects that could affect your car or your commute.
At Halfords, we’ve got replacement bulbs for sale that will fit 99% of cars on the road. If they’re a faff to fit, our Halfords Bulb Fitting service is on hand to speedily swap a broken bulb for a light, bright replacement.
Driving during the dark can also make other vulnerable road users like cyclists and motorcyclists more challenging to spot. To stay safe, we recommend you take a little extra care when pulling out, overtaking and carrying out on-road maneuvers to protect yourself and everyone else on the road.
Driving in the rain
During the winter long, persistent and often heavy showers are an unpleasant side-effect of the earth’s tilt away from the sun. If you’re driving in heavy rain, a set of functioning front and rear windscreen wipers are crucial. Check your blades regularly, as any splits or damage can become worse, leading them to break. Inevitably, this will be at the worst possible time.
Our wiper blade finder makes it simple to select replacement blades, and we’ll even fit a new pair for £4. They’re not only essential for driving in the rain, but they’re also checked as part of your MOT too – so a little care could save you a costly MOT failure.
Driving in high winds
Safe inside a solid lump of moving metal, you might feel protected from high winds, but they can still pose a risk to you and other road users. The biggest dangers are from high-sided vehicles like vans or trucks which may move unpredictably if they’re hit by a gust of wind. This can be even worse when driving on unprotected areas, like bridges or near open fields.
Being aware of the potential for danger is crucial. If you’re planning on overtaking, then be sure that you’re safe. If you’re following a van or truck winds are high, ensure a safe distance behind and prepare for the unexpected.
Driving in ice
Ice and snow (we’ll get on to that later) post the most significant risks for drivers, but with the right approach, they shouldn’t jeopardise your journeys. A de-icer and ice-scraper are essential to rid your windscreen, rear screen and windows of tough ice. Top up your screenwash for continued protection from the elements too. If you’re expecting persistent frosts, then a car cover can protect your car from the build-up of ice and snow.
Ice is often tricky to see, but even a little can leave your wheels searching for grip as you slide. Start driving slowly until you’re confident that the road surface is free of ice. If you’re venturing out in the winter weather, then our Driving on Ice guide includes some helpful advice for drivers of all ages and abilities.
Driving in Snow
A crisp and even covering of the white stuff may provide inspiration for poets, but it often spells disaster for transport plans. Driving in snow is dangerous, and you should only attempt it if it’s necessary. It’s much safer to walk or make alternative plans. Our Tips for Driving in Snow Guide is full of valuable knowledge about staying safe in the snow.
If you do have to drive in snow, take things slowly. Prepare your car and remove snow from all areas with a telescopic snow remover, de-icer and ice scraper. A set of snow chains will give you essential grip that your tyres need, but you can also buy our cheaper snow socks to get some traction. A snow shovel can be used to clear your driveway, and it’s a good idea to chuck it in the boot too as you don’t know what you’ll find on the roads.
During the winter your car is being asked to perform in challenging environments, so it will likely need some love, care and attention. Our free Halfords 5 Point Winter Car Health Check is a great place to start. We will check your car’s battery, bulbs, wipers and oil levels. If something needs fixing, we can take care of it – and we’re cheaper than main dealers too.
We can’t be with you every minute of the day, so we recommend that every driver carries out their own winter vehicle checks during the winter.
If you’re determined to drive this winter, then prepare properly. All drivers should pack a few essentials into their boot that will help you to cope with the winter weather and driving conditions. We recommend that you have:
It’s a sad fact that you might find yourself stuck in traffic during the winter, so it’s a good idea to have some sweets, chocolate or healthy treats handy to keep energy levels up while you wait, along with a bottle of water. We don’t sell confectionary (yet) but for everything else you need this winter, head to Halfords.