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How to stay safe on the roads this Winter

As the weather starts to turn, we have put together some driving advice and tips to keep you safe whilst out and about during the Winter months.

Some simple checks to carry out before you leave:

Preparing and planning for your journeys is key during the Winter as driving conditions can be unpredictable and changeable. As well as allowing extra time for your journeys, there are some simple things you can check before you leave such as:

  • Wear comfortable, dry shoes for driving. Make sure you have a good grip on the pedals.
  • Try to ensure you have at least 1/4 tank of fuel just in case of any unexpected delays.
  • Plan your route around busier roads wherever you can as it is more likely that these will have been gritted.
  • Whilst satellite navigation is really common nowadays, it is worth having a road atlas with you - just in case you find yourself somewhere unfamiliar and without a GPS signal!
  • You should also consider having an "emergency kit" in your vehicle. That way, you'll always have these useful items to hand should you need them - this could include: ice scraper, de-icer, torch (with batteries), a fully charged mobile phone (and charger), first aid kit, empty fuel can and warning triangle.


During the dark and grey Winter months, it is important that you can see clearly when you set off and that other road users can see you.

You should ensure that your wiper blades are in good working order and that your screen-wash is topped up as it is really common for windscreens to get very dirty. Before you set off on your journey, your vehicle should be de-iced completely and all windows are free from ice, snow, dirt or condensation. In instances where there is snow on your vehicle, this should be cleared completely including the headlights.

It can often be difficult to see other road users during Winter, so the electrics on our vehicles become even more important, particularly the lights. Make sure your lights are all working and that they are kept clean - it’s also worth checking your number plates too ensuring that they are visible. Nobody wants to receive an unnecessary fine!

If visibility is reduced, you must use your headlights and if visibility is particularly poor, fog lights. But remember to turn these off again when visibility improves as they could dazzle other driver or obscure your brake lights.

Ford Winter Check 2021

General Driving Advice

When the roads are icy and wet, the main thing to take into consideration is stopping distance. To account for the longer stopping distance, you'll need to reduce your speed and manoevre gently, especially when you need to apply the brakes. If your journey involves inclines, you should leave as much distance as possible between ypu and the vehicle in front. For example, if you are driving up a hill, momentum is key and you don't want to have to stop halfway up. Similarly, when driving downhill, this should be done smoothly, in a low gear, avoiding sudden braking.

Tips to avoid winter breakdowns

There is extra demand on your car battery during the winter months due to reliance on lights and other electrics. So, it is really important that your battery is checked and replaced as necessary, so you are not caught short with a flat battery. Your antifreeze, essential for ensuring your engine doesn’t freeze or overheat, and other fluid levels should also be checked regularly. At least 3mm of tyre tread is recommended for Winter driving and you should make sure that they are properly inflated too. Winter tyres are also available and are made from special rubber for enhanced grip in cold, wet conditions.

Gates Winter Check

At your local Gates dealership, across Essex, Hertfordshire and London, we can carry out a Winter Check on your vehicle for just £40. Within this Winter Check, we'll check the fluid levels on your vehicle and top them up as necessary. We'll also carry out a thorough check of your tyres making sure they have the required amount of tread and that they are not damaged in anyway. You'll also receive a comprehensive 30-point vehicle health check reporting on all safety aspects of your vehicle - we can even send this you as a video. Our fully trained Ford technicians can arrange this for you - please mention this at the time of booking. For more information about our Winter Check or to make a booking, click here.

Gates Accident Assist

In the unfortunate event that you have an accident in your vehicle in the coming Winter months, rest assured knowing that Gates specialist repair team can support and guide you through the process of what you need to do. We can liaise with your insurance company, ensuring that your car is repaired with genuine parts and paints to return your vehicle to its pre-accident condition. If needed we can provide a on brand courtesy vehicle and take the hassle out of the entire process without disrupting your routine.

To take the next step in ensuring that your car is returned to you, in pre-accident condition call us today on: 0333 777 8746 (please quote reference Code HC100 for up to £100 off your voluntary excess).