Travelling in winter

Our Guide to winter driving in Cumbria leaflet (PDF 1.9MB) provides a map of the treated roads in the county to enable you to choose the best route for your journey. It also gives the following advice on winter driving.

Ice
Slow down, steer gently and use the highest gear you can. If you have to brake, use short, even applications, not heavy sustained pressure. Look out for other skid traps like frost and wet leaves. Always be conscious that 'black ice' may occur on winter roads. Black ice is a thin coating of ice on a roadway - while not truly black, it is transparent, allowing the roadway to be seen through it.

Fog
Use dipped headlights, keep your windscreen clear and drive so that you can stop in the distance you can see. Use rear fog lights if visibility is less than 100 metres.

Rain
Use dipped headlights, keep your speed down and keep well back from the vehicle in front. If you come to a flood, slow right down, but keep your revs high.

Hail
Slow down and use dipped headlights. Beware of slush on the road after a hail storm.

Snow
If the sun dazzles, reduce speed and use your visor. If your tyres won't grip, there may be a salt/grit heap or bin nearby. Spread salt/grit in front of your driving wheels and set off in the highest gear you can.

If you are caught in heavy snow, wrap up warm and stay inside your vehicle if possible.


Be prepared

Your vehicle - keep it in good condition at all times and follow this checklist before you go out:

  • All lights clean and working, washer bottle full (use a little window antifreeze).
  • Clean mirrors and windows inside and out.
  • Tyres at the right pressure with plenty of tread.
  • Battery fully charged and topped up.                           

Your journey - don't take risks:

  • Watch the weather forecast and try to use gritted roads. (See the gritting list / map on our winter driving guide below).
  • Don't use roads which are closed - you will put yourself and others in danger and abandoned vehicles hamper snow clearance.       
  • Tell someone at your destination what time you expect to arrive.
  • Do not use a mobile phone while driving. Stop somewhere safe or ask a passenger to make the call.                    

Your survival kit - keep these things in your car:

  • Thick jumper, warm coat, boots, thick gloves, blanket, mobile phone, hot drink in a flask, energy boosting food, cloth, pen, good torch and a shovel.
  • If possible, include a tow rope, jump leads, some sand and a solid wooden board for the jack.
  • If you have to leave your vehicle to get help, make sure other drivers can see you.