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16 December, 2020

Tips on driving home for Christmas

It’s that time of year again, and while it might feel different to previous years, many of us have started making plans for the festive period and are gearing up to drive home for Christmas! 

It is always best to avoid travelling in wintery conditions, but if you want to avoid public transport this year and use the roads come Christmas time, it’s important to make sure you’re prepared. Wintery road surfaces can catch even the most experienced driver off-guard.

Ian McIntosh, CEO of RED Driving School, has some helpful hints on how to stay safe when driving home for Christmas.

Ian says:

Invest in all season tyres

All season car tyres combine the best properties of summer and winter tyres to create an all-round performance tyre. By investing in them early, you can avoid the hassle and cost of changing between summer and winter tyres. Regardless of whether you live in a part of the country that’s especially prone to harsh weather and slippery conditions, we’d recommend using Michelin CrossClimate tyres, available through Kwik Fit. 

Don’t Rush

Allow plenty of time for your journey and make sure your car engine is warmed up before you embark. Ensure you have de-iced the vehicle thoroughly and you can see clearly through all windows in your vehicle before you set off.

Slow down

Road experience aside, no-one has the skill to drive at speed on an icy road – it’s simply not possible. High speeds can make your vehicle difficult to control and even more difficult to stop. Only drive on ice if your journey requires it – when the weather is treacherous, it’s best to stay off the roads.

Take it up a gear

If you have no option but to drive on icy surfaces (and particularly set off on ice), you might find it beneficial to drive in a higher gear, as this can help your tyres to grip to the ice.

Give it space

In snow and ice, stopping distances can be up to 10 times more than usual, so leave a large gap between the vehicles in front and be sure to go slowly. If traffic in front of you starts to slow, gently apply your brakes, as slamming them on can cause you to lose control.

Stay calm in a skid

If your car begins to skid, press down on the clutch and turn the steering wheel into the direction of the skid. As you start to straighten up, steer along the road. It’s important you resist the temptation to brake heavily – this will cause your wheels to lock and you’ll only skid further. 

Take a skid pan training course 

You can prepare yourself for icy conditions with RED’s skid pan training course. Most drivers will at some stage find themselves in a situation where the car is likely to break traction and skid. This unique skid control experience teaches valuable driving skills in a risk-free environment at Donnington driving course. To find out more, please click here. 

Pack winter essentials

You never know when you might get stranded due to heavy snow and snow drifts making roads impassable. Be prepared. Pack a torch, a blanket for warmth and a snow shovel. Your vehicle should always also carry a warning triangle in case of vehicle breakdown. Stay safe!