Driving in bad weather

Advice for driving in bad weather:

  • Increase your distance behind other vehicles. Make sure that there is enough room between your car and the vehicle in front to allow you to stop suddenly if you need to.
  • Make sure all your car lights are working and you have no failed bulbs.
  • Make sure you are aware of what is happening around you. Check your speedometer, rear vision, and side mirrors frequently and look well ahead to try to anticipate problems before they confront you.
  • Make sure you have sufficient fuel for your journey. Keep the fuel tank topped up.
  • Give yourself extra time for your journey and drive at a constant speed. Accept your journey will take longer and don't take risks.
  • Take a mobile telephone with you and make sure it is fully charged. Carry a mobile charger in the car.
  • When visibility is reduced, use dipped headlights. Don’t leave your lights on full beam when approaching or following other motorists. It dazzles other drivers and can cause them to be distracted or even blinded, which is dangerous.
Accordion Title
Accordion Text

If you have to travel in foggy conditions, it is imperative to use your lights appropriately to increase your visibility on the roads.

According to law, outlined in the Highway Code you must use headlights when visibility is seriously reduced, which generally means when you can not see for more than 100 metres (328 feet). You may also use front or rear fog lights but you must switch them off when visibility improves.

Police are also asking motorists driving in vehicles fitted with automatic headlights to double check their headlights are switched on or turn the headlights on manually.

  • Keep a safe distance behind the vehicle in front. Rear lights can give a false sense of security.
  • Be able to pull up well within the distance you can see clearly. This is particularly important on motorways and dual carriageways, as vehicles are travelling faster.
  • Use your windscreen wipers and demisters.
  • Beware of other drivers not using headlights.
  • Not accelerate to get away from a vehicle which is too close behind you.
  • Check your mirrors before you slow down. Then use your brakes so that your brake lights warn drivers behind you that you are slowing down.
  • Stop in the correct position at a junction with limited visibility and listen for traffic. When you are sure it is safe to emerge, do so positively and do not hesitate in a position that puts you directly in the path of approaching vehicles.
Accordion Title
Accordion Text
  • Increase your distance from the vehicle in front and be prepared to move further back if your visibility gets worse.
  • Make sure your windscreen wipers are in good working order.
  • Beware of slippery road surfaces, especially if the rain follows a long dry spell.
  • Watch out puddles and areas of flooding.
Accordion Title
Accordion Text
  • Ensure that dirt, salt and snow is cleared away from light fixtures.
  • Always ensure all windows are fully cleared of snow, frost and condensation before setting off on a journey - it is illegal to drive with obscured vision.
  • Also clear snow from the top of the car as this can fall down and obscure your windscreen while you are driving.
  • Keep windscreen washer fluid topped up as windscreens quickly become dirty from traffic spray and salt from the roads.
  • If you get stuck in the snow stay with your car, but in an emergency if you do need to leave it, park it out of the main traffic route, where it won't cause an obstruction when conditions ease. Leave a contact number on the inside of the windscreen and return to your car at the first opportunity you have.