Tips for safe and enjoyable driving this winter

Winter Driving (2)


We want to ensure you enjoy your winter driving with some safety tips from Europcar.

Pre-driving checks

– Ensure your windscreen wipers are switched off before starting the car. If they were left on when you switched off the car, if there has been a frost, they could start automatically, and if frozen, damage them. 

– Electrical systems need to be checked to ensure all of your lights work, and that your battery isn’t flat.

– Ensure your tyre pressure is regularly checked. Cold mornings mean tyre pressure can be lower in the mornings and tyres at the wrong pressure can cause tyre damage.

– Ensure your wiper blades are in good condition. They will be under greater pressure from temperature changes and increased use during winter.

– With added ‘road scum’ washer bottles should be regularly topped up and include screen wash. 

– If your brakes squeal, shake or feel soft when you press the pedal, it is probably time to get them checked or changed. 

Visibility is key to a safe driving experience

– Ensure windscreens are fully de-iced on the outside and demisted on the inside before setting off. Darker mornings and evenings make seeing people and obstacles hard enough without a foggy windscreen to try to look through too.

– Winter is generally darker and greyer weatherwise, so keeping lights on even during the day ensures you are more visible to other drivers.

– The sun is lower on the horizon during winter, and on the days when it is out, it can be glaring and difficult to judge distances. Keep a pair of sunglasses in the car, for those infrequent sunny days.

– The stopping distance when driving in rain is doubled, so give extra space between yourself and the vehicle in front, to ensure you can stop safely in these conditions.

– When fog means you can’t see more than 100 meters in front of you, switch your fog lights on to ensure other drivers can see you, so you and they can keep their distance, allowing for safe stopping distances. Don’t forget to turn them off when out of fog, to prevent glare to other drivers. 

– If the steering wheel feels ‘light’ you may be on ice. If it feels like the vehicle starts to skid, don’t brake. 

– In a manual vehicle take your foot off the accelerator and depress the clutch and steer gently into the skid until you feel traction again from the road. 

– In an automatic take your foot off the accelerator and steer gently into the skid until you feel traction again from the road. 


Just in case

– In particularly heavy snow falls, sometimes roads get blocked or closed, and you may get stuck in your vehicle for longer than you anticipated. To prepare for this situation:

– Inform others of your journey, the route, expected arrival time and then call them when you arrive.

– Keep some snacks, a bottle of water, de-icer, ice scraper, a blanket/warm clothing, winter boots and a torch with spare batteries in the vehicle.

– If heavy snow has been forecast, it may be worth taking a shovel and some gravel, which can be used for traction in some slippy conditions. 

– Make sure your phone is fully charged, so you can call for help if you need to.


We’re also here

Remember if you need to hire a vehicle this winter, Europcar can help. To find out more and to discuss your winter mobility needs in more detail, talk to one of our dedicated Account Management Team on 0371 384 0140. 


See more articles

More from Europcar