Breaking down is never a pleasant experience – especially if you have to wait for recovery in the cold.
You’ll also want your vehicle to be in the best condition to handle difficult driving conditions in severe weather.
This handy reminder for pre-journey checks is called the ‘POWDERY’ checklist:
petrol (or diesel) - don’t run out of fuel
oil - check levels once a month
water - check radiator and screenwash once a month
damage - check wipers, lights etc for signs of wear and tear or damage
electrics - check lights, indicators and controls are working properly
rubber - are your tyres well inflated, legal, with good tread and free from damage?
yourself - are you fit to drive? - have you slept well? - are you taking any medication(s) that could make it unsafe for you to drive?
Carry an emergency kit
Keep these items in your vehicle from the start of winter, you never know when you might need them.
an ice scraper and de-icer
a torch and spare batteries - or a wind-up torch
warm clothes and blankets - for you and all passengers
first aid kit
sunglasses (the low winter sun and glare off snow can be dazzling)
Be informed: check the latest traffic and weather
Before you set off
In severe and wintry weather it’s even more important to plan your journey. The Highways Agency for example provides the latest traffic situation for England’s motorways and major A roads.
Road and weather conditions may change, drive with care
When you’re on the road, pay attention to the changing road, traffic and weather conditions.
Be ready to slow down and take more care if you need to, particularly on bends and exposed roads. Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security - even if you drive every day on the same stretch of road.
Additional information and advice on driving in adverse weather conditions is available in The Highway Code.
Updates on the move
Keep listening to the radio for traffic and weather updates.
On motorways, look out for overhead message signs where the Highways Agency will flash up important travel messages, including warning you of delays and advising of alternative routes.
When you take a break
On long journeys, consider taking a break at regular intervals - and that’s an ideal time to check the traffic conditions on the road ahead.
The Highways Agency has information screens displaying live traffic updates at most motorway service areas.