As the colder months continue, installers will needs to take more care on the roads as reduced visibility and hazardous road conditions increase the likelihood of a breakdown or accident. fuelGenie has compiled these simple winter driving tips to keep tradespeople safe on the roads this winter.


Snow and ice
Stopping distances increase in snowy and icy conditions by up to 10 times. To avoid skidding on the road and losing control, drive so that you do not need to rely on your brakes to stop, and keep a good distance from the vehicle in front.

Plan work journeys around busy routes that will have been gritted and have high volumes of traffic to reduce the chance of skidding or vehicles getting stranded.

When snow is falling, use dipped headlights or fog lights to ensure that the vehicle is visible to other drivers on the road. When snow is no longer falling, make sure not to dazzle other drivers and pedestrians with the fog lights.

Low-lying winter sun can affect vision when driving and lead to accidents on the road. Ensure your vehicle has optimum visibility with these checks:

  • Ensure the cooling system is topped up with anti-freeze and the wind screen washer doesn’t run out. Screen wash now comes with anti-freeze properties as an easy way to keep on top of the problem

  • Clean the windscreen inside and out as smears and chips can affect vision in direct sunlight

  • To reduce condensation on the windscreen, use the air conditioning to de-mist

  • Replace windscreen wipers regularly, as a low-cost but highly effective solution to optimise vision on the road

  • Ensure that all bulbs are fully functional and bright – replace dull lights as soon as possible.

Consider changing to winter tyres to improve traction and grip on slippery road surfaces. Although the legal limit for minimum depth of tread is 1.6mm, the recommendation for tyre tread during winter is 3mm, as once it gets below this point the stopping distance in an emergency increases dramatically.

Loose gravel, road salt and potholes can take their toll on tyres throughout the colder months. However, by taking preventative measures such as checking tread and pressure every few weeks, you can help minimise potential vehicle downtime.

As it gets darker and colder, the increased use of lights, heaters and wipers puts greater demands on the car battery. To save your battery:

  • Don’t over-run your heaters. Once the front and rear windows are clear in the morning, turn down the fan heater and turn off the rear heater

  • If the vehicle has been standing idle for more than a couple of days, an overnight trickle charge can be useful to give the battery a chance to revive.

It’s worth considering that many vehicles need thinner oil this time of year because thick oil does not flow as freely in the cold as it does in warm weather. The next time you need to top up the oil levels consider spending an extra couple of pounds to save you money in the long run.

Emergency winter pack
It may seem an extra hassle but making sure your vehicle has its own emergency winter pack provides comfort and relief in the case of a breakdown. This ensures drivers are comfortable and able to access essentials such as a warm blanket, torch, bottled water and snacks.

fuelGenie is a supermarket fuel card provider.