Preparing your vehicles for winter

Unexpected snowfall and treacherously icy roads can cause chaos for drivers and fleet managers. Here are some simple steps to help prepare for a season of trouble-free driving.

Servicing and maintenance

There’s no better time for a service than in the run up to winter. Maintenance throughout the season is also important, even once a service has been conducted. This should include:

  • Routinely checking the concentration of antifreeze in the coolant system, and bringing it back to the correct winter level
  • Replacing the car battery at the first sign of trouble
  • Replacing any faulty light bulbs immediately
  • Keep at least a quarter of a tank of fuel in case of unexpected delay


  • Regular visual checks will highlight any prominent defects to tyres. Any damage to the tyre walls such as cuts, cracks or bulges should be dealt with immediately as they could lead to slow punctures or blow-outs at high speeds
  • In winter, drivers should ideally have a minimum tread depth of 3mm, as this helps the car to remove additional surface water on the road. Anything less than 2mm remaining on a tyre should be replaced immediately
  • Consider installing winter/all season tyres; they are specifically designed to provide increased grip in winter conditions. In extreme weather, snow chains are also worth considering. Any tyre enhancements must be fitted to the manufacturer’s standards
  • Do not under-inflate tyres; it is a myth that a softer tyre means better grip

Prepare for the worst

You can rest in the knowledge that you’re prepared for the worst by stocking your vehicle(s) with the following items:

  • Ice scraper / de-icer spray
  • Powerful torch with spare batteries
  • Reflective triangle
  • First aid kit
  • Warm clothing, shoes and blankets
  • Insurance and broker documents, including any contact information for emergency claim hotlines
  • Bottled water and non-perishable foods
  • Jump leads
  • Snow shovel
  • Tow rope
  • Complete set of replacement light bulbs and remember…
    • Always carry a mobile phone and spare batteries

Preparing and driving the car

  • Allow at least 10 minutes more in the morning to prepare your vehicle
  • Clear all windows of snow and ice, and clear the roof of snow
  • Give extra time for the journey and stick to main roads where possible
  • Always let someone know where you are going, and when you expect to arrive
  • For fleet managers, vehicle tracking tools are available
  • Gentle manoeuvres are the key, particularly when braking
  • Always try to pull away in second gear, and select a higher gear such as third or fourth for travelling downhill
  • In the event of skidding, depress the clutch, steer into the skid and avoid the temptation to brake forcefully
  • Black ice can appear to be just a wet patch, so be wary
  • Always put safety before punctuality in winter conditions
  • Listen to local traffic reports and heed advice from the local authority or police concerning driving safety

Want to find out how we can help insure your commercial motors, including fleets, all one on policy? Get in touch with the Chartered brokers at Hine on 0161 438 0000.

Paul Hine
Paul Hine

Hi there! I'm Paul, I'm the principal of Hine Insurance and a Chartered Insurance Broker with over 30 years insurance experience.

I'm also an armchair Manchester City fan, mediocre at tennis and a Peloton fanatic.

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