Winter driving and riding tips

When wintry conditions hit you need to take extra care driving, riding a motorcycle or walking.


Here's some tips to keep you safe.

  • Only travel if your journey is necessary - could you use public transport instead?

Before your journey or travel

  • Check for the latest weather and travel information.

  • Ensure your vehicle is free from accumulations of snow and windows are free frost and ice. Check your wiper blades and replace if they are worn. Do not set off until the inside of the glass has been de-misted.

  • Check that your radiator has the correct amount and mixture of water and anti-freeze.

  • Check your lights are in working order and reflectors, mirrors and windows are clean. Ensure your windscreen washer is full with the correct mixture of water and windscreen cleaner.

  • Check that your vehicle battery is in a good condition and fully charged.

  • Make sure that your vehicle has more than enough fuel to complete your journey(s).

  • Check that your tyres have the correct amount of air in them and that they have plenty of tread depth. Compared with standard 'all weather' tyres, 'winter tyres' provide superior grip at temperatures below +7degrees C.

  • Where possible take with you a shovel, ice scraper, torch, wellington boots, warm clothing and if going on a long journey, pack food and a hot drink.

During your journey

  • Use dipped beam headlights. In fog or falling snow use rear high intensity (fog) lights.

  • Reduce your speed, steer gently and avoid harsh braking. Allow extra room to slow down and stop. It can take up to ten times longer to stop in icy conditions compared to being on a dry road.

  • To avoid wheel spin when roads are icy or covered in snow use the highest gear possible. When braking, to prevent locking your wheels, get into a low gear earlier than normal and allow your speed to fall and use the brake pedal gently. If you do skid, ease off the accelerator but do not brake suddenly.

  • If you are in trouble do not use a mobile phone while driving. Stop somewhere safe or if you have a passenger ask them make the call.

  • If you break down, abandoned vehicles can hold up rescue vehicles and snow ploughs. To ensure that the road is cleared as quickly as possible, stay with your vehicle until help arrives.

  • If you have to abandon your vehicle then make yourself visible to other road users and inform the local police of the location of your vehicle if it has the potential to cause problems for other road users.

Pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists

  • Wear suitable footwear and warm clothing

  • Only certain foot ways and cycle lanes / tracks are currently salted or cleared of snow

  • Take extra care when using, approaching or crossing roads as motorists may not be able to stop as quickly as normal.

Report a road fault

As winter progresses and beyond potholes may appear in the roads, which could pose a safety hazard to all users of the highway network.

If you spot a problem please report it to us online or Call Derbyshire on 01629 533190.

Motoring organisations

AA Roadwatch (opens in a new window) and Weather Watch (opens in a new window), call 0906 888 4322 or 84322 (from mobile phones).

RAC Traffic Information (opens in a new window).

Check your bus times using our interactive journey planner, or call Traveline on 0871 200 2233.

Also on our website

Information on other websites