Winter driving

4th December 2020

Dear all,


With winter approaching, checking your vehicle before each journey is important for your safety as well as the safety of others.


Wilson James takes the safety of its staff very seriously, so we would like to offer some information and advice on what to consider when driving:




  • As roads can become unpredictable, or even dangerous, plan your journey in advance to allow more time for a safer ride.
  • Only make a journey if it is completely necessary.
  • Check fuel levels and keep at least a quarter of a tank in case of an unexpected delay.
  • Clear all windows using a scraper and de-icer. If the vehicle has internal and external window heaters, set these to a level which will clear the windscreens in good time.
  • If a lock is frozen, use the cigarette light to warm the key up and use it in the lock.
  • Do not drive in the cold if you are feeling unwell or on any medication that may make you drowsy.




  • Monitor tyre tread levels – although the national limit is 1.6mm, the WJ guideline is 2.0 mm.
  • Check tyre tread and condition regularly and in particular, before any long journeys to ensure they are properly inflated.
  • Check the condition of each tyre for any lumps, bulges or cracks, as they can worsen over the winter months (check your spare tyre as well).
  • Do not let air out of the tyres to get more grip – it is very unsafe and does not work.
  • Depending on terrain and site regulations, consider fitting winter/all season tyres for the whole period as they provide better grip and durability at lower temperatures.
  • Only use snow chains if there is enough snow to prevent damage to the roads.




  • Keep any areas of sight clean and clear of obstruction.
  • Clean the windscreen inside and out.
  • Keep the windscreen and all other windows clear of dirt, snow and unnecessary stickers.
  • Air-con de-mists the screen faster and reduces condensation.
  • If there is snow on the roof, clear it before setting off. Snow can fall onto the windscreen and block your view.
  • Replace worn or damaged wiper blades.
  • Don’t leave the wipers on auto when parked up. In cold weather, the blades could freeze up and damage the blades or wiper motor when the ignition is turned on.
  • Use a suitable additive in your screen-wash to reduce the chance of it freezing.




  • The stopping distance is 10 times longer in snow – please drive slowly.
  • In case of emergency, please keep the following in the car: ice scraper and de-icer; extra screen-wash; torch; coat, scarf, gloves and a blanket; boots/snow boots; shovel; high-vis jacket; sack or old rug; phone charger; roadmap; empty fuel can; food and drink; jump leads; first-aid kit; reflective triangle.
  • Wear comfortable, dry shoes with plenty of grip.
  • When pulling away, use second gear, easing your foot off the clutch gently to avoid wheel spins.
  • If driving uphill, leave plenty of room and wait until the road ahead is clear so you don’t have to stop part of the way through. Keep a constant speed and try to avoid having to change gear on the hill.
  • If going downhill, slow down on the approach, use a lower gear and try to avoid using the brakes. Leave as much room as you can to the car in front.
  • If you have to use your brakes, apply them gently.
  • If you get stuck, straighten the steering and clear the snow from the wheels. Put a sack or old rug in front of the wheel to give the tyres a grip.




  • Drivers of automatic cars should drive cautiously and not accelerate/brake sharply.
  • Harsh acceleration and braking can cause the car to skid on ice and see the driver lose control.
  • Some automatic cars come with an L, 2 or +/- control which allows drivers to change up into a higher or lower gear in the case of snowy road conditions.


Please watch this video for a basic tutorial on how to prepare and drive in the snow.


If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact and we will endeavour to help as necessary.


Stay safe and drive safely.


Kind regards,


Liam McMenamin


Fleet Coordinator