Christmas 2021: Tips for driving in the snow

There’s a chill in the air, and the weather apps have put the icy snowflake up for over Christmas. If you’re driving to see family or celebrating the holiday season with an impromptu trip, it’s important to be as prepared as possible for winter road conditions. This is where tips for driving in the snow can really change your trip to be safer.

Road safety and breakdown organisation, GEM Motoring Assist, is urging drivers to take extra care on their journeys. With plunging temperatures and heavy snow predicted for many parts of the country over the coming Christmas weekend.

Some areas are predicted to experience more than a foot (30cm) of snow from the evening of Christmas Day and into Boxing Day. This is expected across most of western England, the north west, Wales and southern Scotland.

GEM is encouraging drivers to make good use of some simple safety tips to reduce the chance of risk, delay and difficulty. And to avoid putting additional strain on the emergency services and breakdown providers who are likely to be at full stretch in winter weather.

A GEM spokesperson, says: “This could prove to be a particularly challenging Christmas and New Year, with severe weather threatening to make travel extremely difficult.

“We urge families who are planning journeys to have a plan B in place and be ready to postpone a journey if conditions require. In that way, you’re avoiding a lot of potential trouble for yourself, and ensuring you won’t be putting additional strain on emergency and recovery crews, who are sure to be at full stretch in the coming days.

“Ensuring that you and your car are properly prepared for winter can make a big difference towards keeping you safe on the roads.”

6 quick and helpful tips for driving in the snow

Be careful when you are driving in the snow this holiday season
  1. Don’t drive if you don’t really need to. The easiest way to avoid trouble from winter conditions is to postpone your journey.
  2. If you do have to travel, ensure your car is properly equipped for the likely conditions. That’s because if you do experience a breakdown, you will most likely have to wait longer until help arrives. So get a winter check-up completed on your car – or at the very least ensure the battery is in the best possible shape.
  3. Listen for weather updates, and plan your travel accordingly.
  4. Prepare a set of essential items to take with you, including a shovel, fully charged mobile phone, torch, ice scraper, food, water, jump leads, first aid kit, warm clothes and a supply of sand or gravel to assist with grip if your wheels are spinning. Read our article: Winter Driving Kit: 15 Essential tools and gear to keep in your car for more information.
  5. In winter conditions, keep your speeds down, leave plenty of space between yourself and the vehicle in front, give room to snowploughs and gritter trucks, and be ready for sudden, rapid deteriorations in conditions.
  6. Remember that driving in conditions like this is hard work. You are likely to become tired more quickly than in less challenging conditions. So ensure you build in breaks on your journeys.

Take a look at the GEM e-Book on winter driving. Packed with handy advice for staying safe in winter, it’s available here.

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