The ultimate winter driving checklist

Lightfoot winter driving checklist

It’s that time of year again: presents, food, alcohol, family and of course, the unstoppable march of Michael Buble’s Christmas classics. When heading out during this festive season, make sure to stay safe on the manic roads whether it be the mammoth cross-country drive to visit family or if it’s just to collect the turkey (or nut roast, we’re inclusive here).

Christmas traffic is a different kind of manic to that pesky rush hour traffic on your average Monday. We mean manic as in over 29 million cars on the roads, with Boxing Day alone holding 5.3 million of these. The call of the bargains is just too much, clearly. So, which roads will carry large percentages of that dreaded traffic? Unfortunately, if you’re planning to trek onto the:

  • M25, Junctions 7-16
  • M5 South, Junctions 14-21
  • M6, Junctions 16-22
  • A4 westbound

It’s bad news for you. These are the BUSIEST and potentially most dangerous roads to travel on this Christmas. But panic not! Follow these Christmas driving tips to make your journey as pain-free as possible.

Firstly, the ultimate car checklist. Make sure to carry these items when making your festive, family trips.

  • Ice-scraper and de-icing equipment (check out our full de-icing guide here)
  • Spare warm clothes and wellies/boots
  • Sand/cat litter (should you get stuck in the snow, you can sprinkle this underneath your tyres to get a little more grip)
  • Shovel
  • High-visibility jacket
  • Torch
  • Portable charger
  • Jump leads and a tow rope
  • Bottled water and snacks (of course)
  • Blankets
  • Your favourite Christmas playlists
  • And last but not least, activities for keeping the kids (and yourself) entertained

Just as food and presents come with Christmas, so do snow and ice. Love it or hate it, the UK is highly likely to get its freeze on at some point this winter. Think back to the painful time when taking your driving theory test and you’ll remember that stopping distances are 10X greater when driving in snow and ice, so driving in such conditions is serious business. Ideally, you should avoid driving entirely but, if you have to be on the roads, try to remember these tips: 

  • If your car starts sliding, as crazy as it sounds, the best thing to do is ease off the pedals, keep your front wheels (in FWD vehicles) pointing in the direction you’re trying to go, and just steer with into the slide until you straighten up
  • Keep it slow – use your brakes as little as possible and accelerate gently. If you wish to slow down, try and use your gears
  • Avoid pulling away in 1st gear, instead use 2nd as you’ll have more grip
  • Don’t forget – black ice is lethal. Although you can’t see it, it’s the cause of a lot of ice-related incidents

Remember all these tips for winter driving and you’re GUARANTEED to make your way onto Santa’s good list! Stay safe on the roads this winter and have a Merry Christmas!