Winter Driving Checklist

Posted on December 2nd, 2013 by GEM Motoring Assist

The British winter is unpredictable, so It pays to ensure your car is properly prepared for use while the weather can be at its coldest and most challenging.

It is worth remembering that bad weather can strike suddenly – and at those times we certainly notice big increases in the number of vehicles needing our breakdown service.
Our advice is to stay ahead of the elements and make sure you plan to avoid the inconvenience that a winter breakdown can bring.


  • Check all lights are in working order.
  • Replace burnt out bulbs and remember to clean road grime from all lenses when washing the car. You need to do this more frequently in winter months.
  • Check your front and rear fog lights. Remember these should only be used when visibility is reduced to around 100 metres and switched off when visibility improves.
  • Check your brake lights. Although it’s helpful to have someone else with you for this, you can do it unaided by seeing if the lights illuminate a wall or garage door.
  • Test your horn as well.
  • Make sure your number plates are clearly visible from the front and rear.


  • Check tyre pressures and the tread depth a minimum of 1.6mm over at least three quarters of the tread width is the current legal requirement, but they should be replaced long before that.
  • Examine tyres for signs of uneven wearing and for any cuts or small nicks in the sides of the tyres.


  • Check that wiper blades are not worn or damaged. If they are leaving smears across your windscreen, it’s time for new blades.
  • Split, cracked or perished wiper blades will lead to an MOT test failure.
  • Clean the windows, inside and out, and wipe the lamp lenses and door mirrors.
  • Keep a can of de-icer and an ice scraper in the car. De-icer can also be used to defrost doors and petrol cap locks.


  • Get your brakes checked by a professional – preferably as part of a comprehensive survey before the winter.
  • Check oil and water levels regularly, referring to the manufacturer’s manual if you need guidance.
  • Keep a bottle of water in the car to top up your windscreen washer in an emergency, it is an offence to drive with an empty windscreen washer.

Take with you
Before a journey,make sure you:

  • Have your breakdown membership details and contact telephone in your purse, wallet, or handbag. It’s useful to store this number in your mobile phone.


  • Carry a few extra items with you on winter journeys: gloves, a blanket, a small shovel, a torch and some cash could all prove very useful..

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GEM – Winter Driving Leaflet and Video
In this booklet you’ll find guidance and useful hints about coping with snow, ice, fog, heavy rain and hail, and provides a quick check-list to ensure your vehicle is properly prepared as well as a journey-planning guide.

Download GEM’s Winter Driving Leaflet