Winter is one of the most dangerous times of year to travel, meaning that now is a good time to focus on staying safe on the road – whether you are driving on work business or in your own time.

Interactive Driving Systems is providing the following winter driving tips:

Mobility and journey management

  • Assuming that you absolutely have to travel, and there is no alternative, make sure your journey is well planned
  • Check your planned route is OK
  • Allow realistic travel times for the conditions
  • Ensure others are aware of your journey

Vehicle maintenance

  • Ensure your vehicle has been maintained/serviced and you have a good battery. Your battery has to work much harder in the winter (working lights and wipers, for example) and can fail completely with hardly any warning
  • Check tyres have a good tread depth and are inflated correctly (including the spare)
  • Check cooling system contains antifreeze at the correct strength
  • Are windscreen wipers and washers working properly? In cold temperatures use high strength screen-wash
  • Make sure lights are clean and working

Check the weather conditions

  • Look at local and national TV and radio for travel and weather information
  • See that all vehicle windows, mirrors and lights are clear from mist, frost and snow. Snow and ice reduce what you can see, and can be dangerous to other road users as it falls off your vehicle

In extreme weather conditions such as falling snow

  • Ask yourself ‘is my journey essential’?
  • Check to see if you have a full tank of fuel
  • Let someone know your destination and your expected time of arrival
  • Take a mobile phone if you have one, but remember you could break down in a ‘dead area’, so take warm high visibility clothing, hot drinks, food, boots, a torch and shovel as well – it could be a long walk to a phone

If you are out on the roads in poor conditions

  • Use the main roads as much as possible (these are more likely to have been salted). Maps of routes that councils salt are normally available on their websites
  • Allow extra time
  • Avoid the rush hour to help reduce congestion

Drive according to the conditions

  • Reduce speed in poor visibility, where there is snow, or if ice may have formed
  • Use the highest gear possible to help keep control of the vehicle and avoid harsh braking and acceleration
  • Maintain larger safer stopping distances – two seconds between vehicles is for good conditions! A wet road surface means you’ll take twice as long to stop, so you need to be at least four seconds behind the vehicle in front. In can take TEN times as long to stop on an icy road
  • Use dipped headlights in poor visibility and snow, so others can see you!
  • Use rear fog lights in poor visibility but remember to switch them off when conditions improve
  • Watch out for other road users, including motorbikes, pushbikes, pedestrians and children, who may also be having difficulties in the conditions
  • To brake on ice and snow without locking your wheels, get into a low gear earlier than normal, allow your speed to fall, and use the brake pedal gently
  • If you skid, ease off the accelerator but do not brake suddenly

If you do break down

  • If you get into trouble, stay with your vehicle if possible, until help arrives
  • If you do have to leave your vehicle, make yourself visible to others
  • If you have to abandon your vehicle, give local police the details and park safely to avoid obstruction to maintenance vehicles such as snow ploughs when they are trying to treat the roads


  • Be sure to give cyclists and motorcyclists extra room in bad weather
  • Dazzle from the low winter sun can be dangerous. Carry a pair of sunglasses in the car just in case it’s too low for the visor

Ed Dubens, CEO of Interactive Driving Systems, said: “For many of the fleets we work with winter is a critical time for the provision of their goods and services, meaning that their vehicles and drivers can sometimes find themselves on the road in the worst possible driving conditions. For this reason, we are urging organisations to be aware of and plan for the risks of winter driving.”