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Cold weather and driving – commonly asked questions

During the winter months extreme weather conditions can make driving more difficult and potentially hazardous. The RAC has plenty of tips and advice to help aid your winter driving and make your travels as safe and incident free as possible this season.

What easy car maintenance can I do for myself?

There are some simple maintenance checks you can carry out on your vehicle to ensure it is well prepared for winter conditions. The main checks the RAC advise are checking all of your lights and bulbs as well as a tyre health check, a check of your wiper blades and a few regular under the bonnet checks you can carry out too.

What do I need to carry with me on a winter journey?

One of the priorities to pack when driving in winter conditions is a fully-charged mobile phone for use in an emergency. You never know when you might get stuck or breakdown and a fully-charged phone is the best way to call for help (obviously not for use when driving).

The other main things to consider include warm clothing and some food and water supplies in case you do breakdown and are stuck in the cold awaiting rescue.

Check out RAC's full winter driving checklist page.  

 

Why won’t my car start in the cold?

This issue plagues motorists up and down the country every winter.

While it is often an issue your breakdown provider can easily resolve it is worth knowing how to make simple checks beforehand to prevent a breakdown before it happens. Twenty eight per cent of RAC breakdown issues are battery-related, so it is best to keep it regularly maintained, charged and in good health.

You can find out how to do this and how to identify the signs that your battery might need changing on the RAC's what to do if your car won’t start in the cold page.

 

How can I demist my windscreen really quickly?

This is one of the handiest pieces of advice at your disposal when the cold weather begins to creep in.

After all it is illegal to drive if your visibility is impeded and steamed up windows are the biggest culprit of this. Did you know that more often than not you will actually clear your windscreen faster using cold air than hot air?

Read more on the RAC's how to demist your windscreen in double-quick time page.

 

Any tips for driving in fog and when I should use headlights?

The RAC has found that not everyone knows the laws around when and when not to use your fog lights.

In a nutshell they are recommended when visibility is reduced to 100 metres, but there is also a great deal more to consider.

For all you need to know, including how to check your bulbs in the first place, visit the RAC's driving in fog page.

 

Is it illegal to drive with snow on your car?

The answer to this isn’t a hard and fast rule one way or the other, but the bottom line is that in some cases, by driving with snow on your car, you may in fact be breaking the law.

The lines of the law are to do with visibility, both the visibility of your car to other drivers and your own visibility looking out the windows when driving. If either are obscured you could well be breaking the law and endangering your own life as well as the lives of others – not to mention be liable for a police fine if you’re caught.

Read more on the RAC's driving with snow on your car page.