Navigating the hazards of driving this winter

Winter often brings unpredictable weather conditions, and it can be a wet and windy season in the UK. Driving during the winter can be challenging- the plummeting temperatures and darker evenings make for more difficult driving conditions. Although it’s advisable to simply avoid being on the road amid inclement conditions, you may be visiting family this Christmas or may face times when you have no choice.

With these challenges come heightened risks of accidents, making the right insurance coverage essential for peace of mind during the winter months. 

Does your policy cover the below?

Collision and Comprehensive Coverage: Ensure you have adequate coverage for collisions and non-collision incidents. Winter weather increases the risk of accidents, but comprehensive coverage can also protect against issues like falling tree branches or theft due to cold weather.

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage: Verify whether you have this coverage. It can protect you if you’re involved in an accident with a driver who doesn’t have insurance or lacks adequate coverage.

Roadside Assistance: Consider adding roadside assistance to your policy. Winter weather can lead to breakdowns, and being stranded in the cold can be hazardous. This coverage can provide essential services like towing, jump-starts, and tire changes.

Policy Limits: Ensure that your policy limits are sufficient to cover potential damages. Winter accidents can lead to significant costs, so having adequate coverage is crucial.

Reviewing your coverage is crucial for your protection. Your needs may change over time, and ensuring that your coverage matches your current situation is essential. By assessing your coverage in advance of winter weather and taking steps to address any gaps in your insurance, you can better prepare for winter driving conditions and reduce the potential financial risks associated with accidents and winter-related incidents.


Aside from reviewing your insurance coverage, it is crucial to prepare your vehicle for winter driving and harsh weather conditions with cold weather. There a sharp increase in vehicle breakdowns when the weather turns cold, according to the RAC. As such, it’s vital to make vehicle maintenance a top priority.

Consider the following tips:

  • Refuel regularly—Cold engines use more fuel, so consumption may increase during winter months. Ensure your fuel tank is topped up for long journeys.
  • Check oil level—One in three vehicles are dangerously low on oil, according to the RAC. Low oil not only increases your chances of breakdowns, it could also result in engine damage. Check your oil level is between the minimum and maximum marks on your vehicle’s dipstick and top up as necessary.
  • Assess tyres—Although the legal minimum tyre tread level is 1.6mm, 3mm of tread is recommended in winter to help with traction and grip. While checking tread depth, also ensure that tyres are correctly inflated to recommended pressures. Consult your vehicle’s handbook for further details.
  • Clean lights—Your safety relies on you being able to see and be seen. Walk around your vehicle to ensure that all lights are functioning as expected and free from dirt and grime.
  • Top up screen wash—A clear windscreen is essential for visibility. Use a quality screen wash additive or pre-mix that is effective down to at least -15C.

Finally, prepare for all eventualities. Keep warm clothes, a torch and some basic supplies in your car in case of breakdowns.


So now you have assessed your insurance coverage and prepared your car for unpredictable weather, you are ready to hit the road… but there are further precautions you can take to ensure you are as safe as possible when driving in dangerous whether.

Consider the following tips:

  • Check the forecast, including predictions of conditions, during your return, before embarking on journeys.
  • Make sure to use your headlights, wipers and de-mister when appropriate, such as during rain and thunderstorms.
  • Be alert for spraying from other vehicles, as it can reduce your visibility.
  • Drive on main roads where possible as fallen branches, debris and flooding are less likely.
  • Clear your windscreen of frost or condensation before setting off so you have clear visibility while driving.
  • Drive defensively, including reducing speeds and increasing your following distance.

By thoroughly assessing your insurance coverage, preparing your vehicle, and following safety precautions on the road, you can face the challenges of winter driving with confidence, safeguarding yourself and others during this potentially hazardous season. Your safety and peace of mind are vital as you navigate the roads during the winter months.