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Top 10 winter driving safety tips for inexperienced drivers

Updated: Apr 14, 2023

Winter driving can be a challenging and potentially dangerous experience, especially for inexperienced drivers. The cold weather, ice, and snow can all affect the way your vehicle handles and reacts, so it's important to be prepared and take extra precautions to ensure your safety on the roads. In this blog post, we'll go over some essential winter driving safety tips for inexperienced drivers in the UK.

Before we get started, it's essential to make sure your vehicle is properly equipped for the winter months. This includes having the right tyres for the conditions, as well as ensuring your vehicle's fluid levels are topped up and your lights are working properly. It's also a good idea to keep an emergency kit in your car, including items like a blanket, torch, food and water, and extra warm clothing in case you become stranded. Before setting off on a journey all snow must be cleared from the car, including from the roof, ice cleared from all windows and the inside of all windows demisted. By law licence plates and L-plates must be clearly visible.

1. Check the weather

Check the weather and road conditions before you head out. Before you hit the road, it's essential to check the weather and road conditions to get an idea of what to expect. This can help you plan your route and adjust your driving accordingly. You can check the forecast on a weather app or website, and you can also check local traffic and road conditions through resources such as the UK's Highways England website or app. By staying informed, you can avoid driving in dangerous conditions and plan a safer route.

2. Speed and space

Slow down and leave more space between you and other vehicles. The roads can be slippery and unpredictable during the winter, so it's essential to reduce your speed and leave more space between you and other cars. This will give you more time to react to any hazards and help you maintain better control of your vehicle.

3. Gears

Use higher gears when moving away: The cold weather can make it harder for your vehicle to get traction, especially when moving away from a stopped position. Using a higher gear can help improve traction and make it easier to get your car moving. For example you can move off in second gear in a manual car. Some automatic cars have a winter mode or eco mode, or will also allow 2nd gear to be selected.

4. Smooth driving

Avoid sudden movements. Sudden movements, such as braking or turning too sharply, can cause your vehicle to lose traction and skid. Instead, make smooth and gradual movements to maintain better control of your car.

5. Gentle braking

Use your brakes wisely. When driving on icy or slippery roads, it's essential to use your brakes wisely to avoid skidding. Instead of braking suddenly, gently apply pressure to your brakes and allow extra time to come to a stop.

6. Skidding

Know how to recover from a skid. If you do find yourself in a skid, it's essential to stay calm and take the right steps to regain control of your vehicle. If your car starts to skid to the right, gently turn the steering wheel in the same direction. If your car starts to skid to the left, gently turn the steering wheel in the opposite direction.

7. Lights

Use your headlights and indicators. Properly using your headlights and indicators can help other drivers see you and anticipate your movements, which can be especially important in poor visibility conditions. Make sure to turn your headlights on whenever you're driving, even during the day, and use your indicators to signal your intentions to other drivers.

8. Ice

Be prepared for black ice. Black ice is a thin, transparent layer of ice that can be difficult to see and is often found on bridges and overpasses. When driving on ice, road and tyre noise is reduced. If you suspect that you're driving on black ice slow down gently and be extra cautious.

9. Don't use cruise control

It's generally best to avoid using cruise control during the winter months, as it can cause your vehicle to lose traction and skid. Instead, maintain a steady speed manually.

10. Heating and ventilation

Know how to use your car's heating and defrosting systems. Properly using your car's heating and defrosting systems can help improve visibility and keep you warm and comfortable while driving. Make sure to turn on your defroster to clear the windows of fog and ice, and use your heater to keep your hands and feet warm.


In conclusion, winter driving requires extra precautions and careful planning to ensure the safety of inexperienced drivers. By following the tips outlined in this blog post, you can navigate the roads safely and confidently during the colder months. Remember to also make sure your vehicle is properly equipped and maintain an emergency kit in case of unforeseen circumstances.


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