Winter driving advice

Remember to take extra care when driving in poor weather conditions this winter.

Preparing your vehicle for winter


  • should have a legal minimum tread depth of 1.6mm over the central three-quarters of the tyre
  • the recommended minimum tread is 3mm
  • check them regularly for damage – bulges, cracks, slow punctures
  • check your tyre pressure meets the level recommended for winter conditions.


  • anti-freeze should be changed at least every two years as part of your service
  • you need a 50-50 mix of anti-freeze and water.

Screen Wash

  • ensure that you add screen wash to your washer bottle and top it up regularly
  • don’t add anti-freeze to your windscreen washer bottle – it is corrosive and will damage paintwork.


  • the average life of a battery is five years
  • remember that during winter months the battery will drain more quickly with the additional use of electrical items such as heaters, lights and heated rear windscreen.

Inside the car

Make sure you’re ready for winter by preparing an emergency kit containing the following:

  • ice scraper
  • de-Icer
  • torch and spare batteries
  • warm clothes and blanket
  • boots or sturdy footwear
  • first aid kit
  • sunglasses
  • road atlas and/or sat nav
  • personal medication.

For longer journeys or during severe weather you should also carry:

  • jump leads
  • mobile phone charger
  • shovel
  • food and warm drink
  • reflective warning sign.

Driving tips

We make every effort to increase safety on the county's roads. Despite this, icy or snowy weather can make venturing out on the county's roads a treacherous experience. Here are some top tips for safer driving this winter:

  • plan your route to work - use the online gritting routes map - and make sure you have a road atlas in your car
  • reduce speed and allow extra space to slow down – it can take ten times longer to stop in icy conditions than on a dry road
  • use the highest gear possible to avoid wheel spin whilst maintaining appropriate speed
  • manoeuvre gently, avoiding harsh braking and acceleration
  • get into a low gear earlier than normal when braking on ice or snow, allow the vehicle’s speed to fall and use the brake pedal gently to avoid the wheels locking
  • ease off the accelerator but do not brake suddenly if skidding occurs
  • use car visors and reduce speeds in the event of being dazzled by winter sun
  • clear snow from all windows and also the roof, otherwise this can fall onto the windscreen obscuring your view and could potentially result in a fine - it can also be a hazard to other road users
  • help our gritters and emergency services get through to keep the roads clear - if you're forced to abandon your car, make sure you leave it as close to the side of the road as you can.

Public transport

In severe weather conditions, don't use your car unless it is essential.

Take advantage of public transport where possible. The county has an extensive bus, tram and train network.

Get help with planning your journey by public transport.

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