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Winter Driving Advice, Part 3 – Driving in Adverse Weather Conditions

In the last two weeks, our expert driving instructors have been helping us put together some driver advice for preparing for autumn and winter – including how to run the right checks on your vehicle, and the most common issues drivers face during adverse weather conditions.

This week, we want to focus on actually driving in winter, the rules you must abide by and the tips for keeping safe on the roads. So, our expert driving instructors have put together their  6 tips for safe driving in adverse weather conditions.

1. Know when to use your headlights

Many drivers use their headlamps consistently during winter. But there are rules about when you must switch on headlights. According to Rule 226 of the Highway Code, you MUST use headlights when visibility is seriously reduced. This is generally when you cannot see for more than 100 metres (328 feet). The advice also extends to front or rear fog lights, which you may also use when visibility is less than 100m. However, you MUST switch them off when visibility improves.


2. Know when to use Fog Lights, and when not to

Following on from number 1, according to Rule 236 of the Highway Code you MUST NOT use front or rear fog lights unless visibility is seriously reduced, once again, less than 100m. Front fogs dazzle other road users and rear fogs can obscure your brake lights. This means that you MUST switch them off as soon as visibility improves. Failure to do so can result in a police stop.


3. Drive with awareness of increased stopping distances

According to the Highways Agency, stopping distances increase once conditions deteriorate. This can be up to 10 times as far in very wet or icy conditions. Driving too close to the vehicle in front is a sure fire way to increase the risk of an accident in bad weather.


4. Avoid higher regions and be aware of changes in condition

Avoiding higher, more exposed areas doesn’t just mean avoiding the  mean the top of Saddleworth Moor. Bridges and overpasses will also be affected by snow and ice more quickly than other surfaces. Plan your journey to avoid these areas if possible.

bad weather roads

5. Avoid unnecessary lane changes

When travelling on dual carriageways or motorways, avoid making unnecessary changes of lane. Speeding up, sharp movements, or braking quickly in icy or very wet conditions could cause you to swerve and lose control of the vehicle.

motorway driving

6. Be aware of wind conditions

In winter and autumn, wind conditions can pick up quickly. On windy days, be particularly careful around motorcyclists and cyclists; strong wind can seriously hamper their speed so you need to adjust your judgement.

Large vehicles such as lorries can also waver, so take extra care when passing them.


Most of all, it’s important to plan your journey, take precautions and be prepared for your journey to take longer than usual. Driving in adverse conditions does require a level of skill, but it also requires the application of common sense.

For more information about advanced driving, or any of our driving training courses, contact The Transport Training Academy today.

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