Driving Home for Christmas: Top tips for driving in snow and ice!

Car driving in snowy weather


Last week really did feel like proper winter with temperatures hitting the minuses, however, although Christmas 2022 seems milder than ever, you can never ever guarantee British Weather.

Christmas is here and with that comes joy and festivities, but for most of us visiting family across the UK and beyond, it brings many trips battling the frost, snow and ice and we feel your pain getting up an extra 15 minutes early to defrost the car…

These top tips will help you get that hard-earned sleep and give you peace of mind when driving on the roads over the Christmas break. The British winter weather always seems to strike fear into drivers but we are here to tell you, there are plenty of ways to combat the cold and keep yourself safe. Millers Oils have compiled some tips to help you get through your Christmas travels on the road!

1. Black ice is not nice!

Black ice is definitely up there as one of the most feared parts of driving in winter. You can’t see black ice and it takes drivers by shock so if they find themselves driving over a patch of it, they start to lose control of their car. Snow chains are never talked about enough, there is a reason they are used so frequently in mountainous areas such as ski resorts/towns and that’s because they work so well! They drastically increase traction on snow and ice, however, we would not recommend driving at normal speeds even with these on.

2. Get rid of those skid marks!

Seriously, skidding in winter is not cool, so try and avoid your brakes if you find yourself losing control of your car. As much of a natural reaction as it is, slamming your brakes in panic will lock your wheels and turn your car into a giant curling stone!

3. Keep your distance.

Nobody wants to see your skid! Stopping distances increase greatly in snow and ice. Leave plenty of room between you and the vehicle in front of you. It will also give you plenty of time to react to any dangerous hazards that appear down the road.

4. Take your time.

If you’re worried about driving in the snow there is likely enough that it is not going anywhere for some time. Be sure to give yourself plenty of time for your usual journey so that you can reduce your speed and take your route safely. As well as this, if another, safer route is better suited for snow and ice, choose that, even if it means adding on to your journey.

5. Make sure your car is safe to drive.

This may seem obvious but hear us out… make sure ALL your windows are clear from mist, snow, and ice. This is not advice, it is a law. If you crash and your insurance finds out any of your windows were obstructed by mist, snow, or ice, they may refuse to pay out, leaving you in a very slippery situation.

6. Use winter-grade products

Using lubricants in your car specifically designed for winter is always the best option, they often have lower freezing temperatures, resulting in a reduced risk of breakdowns and accidents on the road.

7. Keep your winter equipment at the ready!

It’s time to break out the de-icer or ice scraper. Keeping the necessary equipment in your car could save you a lot of time whilst also making it a lot safer for you to be on the road driving. See the list below of items we would recommend;

  • De-icer – A nice time saver!
  • Ice scraper – Again, saving yourself some time!
  • Snow shovel – Especially helpful if your drive has a bit of a slope.
  • A bag of salt/grit – this will help if your drive is filled with ice.
  • A tow strap – it will come in handy if you ever find yourself stuck!
  • Hi-vis clothing – For keeping yourself safe if you are defrosting your car in the dark, or if you have broken down or got stuck.

8. Maintain your vehicle

Keeping your vehicle in optimum driving condition will ensure increased safety on the road at all times. This includes: Checking tyre pressure, removing unnecessary weight, driving in the correct gear and keeping revs low, where possible no harsh accelerating or braking… all of these are beneficial whilst driving in snow and ice as well. We also advise keeping a 1L top-up of Engine Oil in your car just in case your oil warning light makes a surprise appearance!

Driving home for Christmas is one of the most exciting times of the year… so join us in listening to the classic whilst we make our way home for the Christmas break this week!