Person pouring anti freeze into car with snow in background

Preparing for a journey in winter

In severe and wintry weather it's even more important to plan your journey.

Highways England and the governments of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland look after motorways and major A roads, and local authorities look after all the other roads, working as hard as they can to keep their networks clear during severe weather.

Is your vehicle ready for winter?

In winter weather it's more important than ever to see and be seen, have tyres that grip the road and to be able to start your car in the cold and damp. Many garages offer a quick, pre-winter check-up for your car, or you can make some simple checks yourself.

Vehicle checks to make yourself

  • See and be seen: check windscreen wipers and washers, window demisters, and all lights are working correctly.
  • Grip the road: check tyre condition and tread depth - read how to check tyre tread - or here's a video from RAC of how to check your tyres:

     

  • Starting in the cold and damp: check battery condition and anti-freeze - RAC tells you how to check this
  • Use a good quality screenwash that protects down to -35 degrees to prevent water freezing

Get your winter kit ready: ice scraper, de-icer, jump leads, shovel, blanket, sunglasses (for winter glare from the low sun), torch. Get all these things ready before the start of winter and then keep them in the car - you never know when you might need them.

Reduce the risk of breaking down in nasty weather

Breaking down is never a pleasant experience. It's even worse if you have to wait for recovery, outside your vehicle, in cold, wet or wintry weather. You'll also want your vehicle to be in the best condition to handle difficult driving conditions in severe weather. So it's a good idea to get your vehicle serviced before the winter to reduce the chance of problems.

Keep an eye on the weather affecting England’s motorways and major A roads from Met Office forecasters in the Highways England National Traffic Operations Centre.

Don't drive through flood water

When there's a lot of rain falling, large puddles can form, some of which can become dangerous. Driving through this water could cause serious damage to your car, and potentially leave you with a large repair bill.

If you don't know the road and don't know what's below the puddle, don't take the risk. There could be open drains or unseen hazards, not to mention that the water may be deeper than you think. RAC has more in-depth advice about driving through water and floods.