Driving in wintry conditions

During wintry conditions, motorists should take additional care if out and about, particularly when driving on untreated icy or snowy roads.

People should monitor conditions in their local area as conditions may vary from place to place.

Police would also advise people to dress appropriately for the weather, especially if out on foot, but also if in their car.

Motorists are asked to listen to updates on local radio and check the Northumbria Police and Highways Agency websites for updates.

The following advice should also be followed by motorists:


Moderate your speed to match the conditions but try not to brake sharply


Maintain a safe distance from the vehicle in front - stopping distances are longer on wet or icy roads


Ensure you have adequate visibility by clearing front and back windscreens and all windows/wing mirrors before setting off


Keep your windscreen washer bottle topped up, preferably with the addition of winter screen wash


Clean your headlights front and rear and use dipped headlights when driving in poor visibility, including heavy rain as well as snow


Be alert for pedestrians walking on roads when footpaths are too snowy or icy to use


An ice scraper and de-icer should be carried for day to day use, whilst other useful items in your car in adverse weather conditions include: a torch, warm clothes or a blanket, boots, a first aid kit, a shovel, a battery, jump leads and a tow rope


Food and a warm drink should be taken on longer journeys


Advise a friend, colleague or family member of your journey


Ensure mobile phones are fully charged before travelling

Useful Links

Highways Agency - Make time for Winter

RoSPA - Winter Driving Tips