© County Car & Van Rental
Winter Weather Driving Tips
Wed Jan 11, 2017


The first thing you should do before setting off, is clear all the snow and ice from your car. By Law you are required to have clear visibility out of each glass panel on your vehicle. However, it is also a good idea to clear the snow from the bonnet and the roof of your vehicle, as these can move in transit and obstruct your vision. Give consideration to your lights, mirrors and number plates as well, when clearing your vehicle.

Allow time to de-mist your vehicle as well as de-icing it. In extremely cold temeratures vehicle windows are more prone to misting up on the inside.

Make sure your vehicle can be seen by ensuring your front and rear lights are on. In heavy snow / fog switch your fog lights on too.


In wintery weather it is a good idea to keep the following items in your car, just in case your vehicle becomes stranded: A bottle of water, torch, snow shovel and a blanket (in case you have to stay in the vehicle for an extended period of time)

It is also a good idea to carry a pair of sunglasses, as driving through snowy conditions in the sunshine can impair your sight.


Ensure that your wipers are not set to 'auto' as they could become damaged if frozen to the windscreen when you start the vehicle. Once you have cleared the screen, gently loosen the wipers from it.

Check your tyres for adequate tread. If the tread depth is low, it should not be driven in wet or snowy conditions as it will not have sufficient grip.

Use only a good quality screenwash that protects down to at least -35 to prevent the water from freezing. 


If driving down hill, reduce your speed by using a lower gear. If you have to brake, remember to slowly reduce your speed.

The key rules to driving in snow and ice are: accelerate slowly and brake softly. (Don't get nervous and hit the breaks too hard.)

Slow & Steady

It dosen't just win the race, but could keep you out of trouble when it comes to turning. While performing a turn keep the steering wheel as still as possible with no sharp or jerky movements and maintain a slow and steady speed. Then wait until you are pointed straight to push on the accelerator.

Look Ahead

When it's time to turn it's a good idea to keep your eyes looking through the turn to where you want to go. Don't be tempted to stare at obstacles or roadsides that you want to avoid. Just look forward and keep the steering wheel pointed steadily in that direction.

Maintain a Safe Distance

It is advisable to leave twice the normal stopping distance in slippery conditions.

When heading uphill, it is advisable to wait for the hill to clear so that you can ensure a smooth and steady rate of acceleration on your way up.

Consider if your vehicle is suitable for your journey.

If you aren't sure that your vehicle will get you to where you want to go, why not enquire about our range of 4x4 and All-Wheel-Drive vehicles which are better equipped to handle wintery conditions?


We would like to thank the RAC for providing these tips on driving in the snow. To see the weather forecast for your route, try their specialised route planner.