Hatfields News

Top Tips for 4×4 Winter Driving

If you already drive a 4×4 vehicle then you may think you’re automatically set up to cope with the worst that the UK weather can throw at you this winter. However, if you get caught out by inclement weather, you might find that you and your vehicle aren’t as prepared as you could be. Follow these tips to make sure that you’re as ready as possible if snow and ice hits.

Get your 4×4 winter-ready before the weather takes a dip

Ideally, you should start preparing for snow and ice in late autumn by checking your oil, coolant and washer fluid levels, tyre tread depth (at least 3mm recommended for winter driving), pressures and brakes to make sure they are all good to go. If your vehicle is kept outside, a windscreen cover can save time on freezing mornings and a good quality screen wash can help your view stay clearer once you’re on the road. Check that your lights are all operational (including automatic headlights) and that your wiper blades are in good condition.

Emergency supplies

Whilst most 4×4 drivers are unlikely to get stuck out in your vehicle often, it can be a good idea in the winter to carry a box of emergency items just in case a road closes unexpectedly. You could also be in a position to help other motorists out if the worst happens to them too. We recommend carrying:

  • Jump leads
  • Tow rope
  • Torch (and spare batteries)
  • Spare light bulbs and fuses for your vehicle
  • A scraper and some de-icer (don’t use hot water to de-ice your car as this can cause the glass to crack)
  • A shovel
  • Boots or wellies that can be worn in the snow
  • Warm clothes and a blanket
  • Non-perishable food and drink, like energy bars/drinks
  • Snow chains
  • Traction aids/waffle boards

Driving tips for snowy and icy roads

  • If travelling in these types of conditions, tell someone else about your journey and when you expect to arrive at your destination
  • Check the weather forecast before setting off and set up traffic announcements on your radio
  • Remove all snow from the roof and windows of your vehicle. Remove ice from the entire windscreen before setting off
  • Keep your speed down and keep your distance from the vehicle in front to allow for increased stopping distances
  • If moving off on packed ice, try using a higher gear
  • Steer gently, use progressive acceleration and braking
  • Keep both of your hands on the wheel at all times
  • If you start to slide or your wheels spin, ease off until you feel the tyres retain their grip and keep the wheels rolling
  • Avoid harsh braking as this can cause you to skid
  • If you do skid, steer into it i.e. if the rear of your car is sliding left, steer left and vice versa
  • Brake before you approach corners and take them at low speeds. Only accelerate once you have straightened up on the other side. Don’t steer when braking or accelerating
  • If you get stuck in snow, clearing snow from the tyres and using traction aids, like waffle boards, can help you to free your vehicle
  • In foggy weather, only use fog lights when necessary (if visibility is less than 100m) as otherwise they can distract other drivers
  • In fog, leave at least a two second gap between you and the vehicle in front (more if the road conditions are also poor)
  • If visibility is poor, you might want to open your windows at junctions to listen for traffic that may be approaching
  • If you come across a flooded road or area, don’t drive into it unless you really have to. Try to gauge the depth of the water first to make sure it is passable for your specific 4×4 vehicle
  • If entering water, do so slowly and don’t coast in neutral or with your foot on the clutch. Ease off when leaving the water too

To get your Land Rover, Range Rover, Jaguar or Volvo checked out for the winter, find your nearest Hatfields retailer. You can also find additional tips in Land Rover’s full 4×4 winter driving guide.