With wintry weather forecast, icy roads, sleet and snow could make driving conditions more difficult in some areas. Always adjust your driving according to the conditions and plan your journey. Reduce your speed and drive with extra care, even when roads have been gritted.
Drive to suit the conditions
During adverse weather, you should:
- clear ice and snow off all windows, lights and vehicle roof before you set off
- use at least dipped headlights in poor visibility
- leave extra space between you and other vehicles
- be extra cautious at road junctions where road markings may not be visible
Even after roads have been treated in winter, driving conditions may remain challenging, especially if the road location and layout mean there is a high risk of ice. Be aware that ice forms more easily on:
- hilly or exposed roads
- roads that pass under or over a bridge
- roads shaded by trees or buildings
Try not to brake suddenly in icy conditions – it may lock up the wheels and you could skid.
If you start to skid:
- release the brake pedal fully or ease off the accelerator
- steer into the skid
- as you straighten, steer back along the road
You can find out more about driving in wintry conditions at the page below:
Check and service your vehicle
You can reduce your chances of breaking down by regularly servicing your car. You should also:
- top up anti-freeze and screenwash
- check for wear and tear on wiper blades (replace them as soon as they start to smear rather than clean windows)
- make sure your battery is fully charged (batteries last between two and four years – replace yours if it’s no longer reliable)
- keep tyre pressure at the manufacturer’s recommended level and check you have at least 1.6mm across the central three-quarters of the breadth of the tread and around the entire circumference
- wipe dirt and spray off headlamps and make sure all bulbs are working
During winter you are advised to carry a winter kit in your vehicle. It should include:
- ice scraper and de-icer
- torch and spare batteries (or a wind-up torch)
- warm clothes and blankets
- first aid kit
- jump leads for the car battery
- a shovel (if there’s a chance of snow)
- road atlas
- sunglasses (the low winter sun and glare off snow can be dazzling)
- warning triangle
If you’re planning a long trip or if severe weather is forecast, you may want to also have in your car:
- any medication you need to take regularly
- food and a thermos with a hot drink
Is your journey necessary?
You should always plan your journey and check the latest weather and travel advice.
If the conditions are bad, ask yourself whether you really need to travel – or if you can delay your journey until conditions improve.
If you must travel, plan your journey carefully.
Source: NI direct Government Services