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Car in the snow

Get winter ready

Make sure you're ready for winter with our top tips for tackling the British weather.

Before you go

Keep an eye on the weather

Check the forecast along your route to the airport up until the day you go – the weather can change pretty quickly so don't get caught out. It's also a good idea to plan an alternative route, if you can, in case of road closures or accidents.

Prep your car

If you know you're going to be driving in wet or wintry conditions, or just want to be prepared for a long journey, there are some things you can do to make sure you're as prepared as possible.

  • Check your tyre tread and pressure. The legal minimum tyre tread is 1.6mm but you'll want to replace your tyres when they get to around 2mm just to be safe. To find out what the correct tyre pressure should be for your car, take a look in your user manual or do a quick Google search.
  • Check your brakes – they should feel sharp and responsive when you test them. If they feel spongy, like they're pulling to one side, or slow to react, get an expert to take a look at them.
  • Make sure all your lights are working. To do this, put all your lights on, including the hazards and fog lights, and walk around your car to check they're working. You should also check your brake light – just get someone to stand behind your car while you press gently on the brake pedal, the lights should come on when you do that.
  • If you live in a rural location and you know there's going to be icy roads, think about adding snow chains to your tyres or replacing them with winter tyres if you're really concerned.

Pack provisions

Make sure you have everything you need just in case you get stranded – check you've got everything on our list below and you should be good.

  • Snacks (very important!)
  • Water
  • A torch and spare batteries
  • A blanket
  • De-icer
  • Ice scraper
  • In-car phone charger or power bank
  • Sunglasses – might sound weird but the sun is lower in winter and it can dazzle you very easily

This is a bit obvious but make sure you've got a full tank of fuel, or a full battery, as well. If you find yourself stranded you'll need it to help keep you and your passengers warm while you wait for rescue.

On the road

If you do end up having to drive to the airport in snowy conditions just follow these tips to make sure you're driving as safely as you can.

Slow down – if visibility is low and the roads are treacherous then the safest thing you can do is drive at a sensible speed. Plus remember to leave a safe distance between your car and the one in front – this allows more space to slow down and react to anything that might happen.

If visibility is poor use your dipped headlights so that drivers in front of and behind you can see your car. If you can't see more than 100 metres in front of you then you should stick your fog lights on too.

When driving in snow and ice, don't accelerate too quickly as this can cause wheel spin. If you're driving a manual you should pull away in second gear if you can and slowly move up the gears, driving in the highest gear possible. This keeps your revs low and reduces the risk of your wheels spinning over the ice.

To slow down use engine braking and work down through the gears, lightly touching the brake pedal to signal to the cars behind you.

Try to avoid stopping on a hill – hang back if you need to and wait for it to be clear of traffic before scaling it. Gravity is not your friend when the roads are icy.

For more tips and advice on driving in the snow take a look at the AAs guide to driving in winter.

When you get to the airport

After all that you've finally made it to the airport. As always it's recommended that you get to the airport earlier than you need to – but what about a whole day earlier?

By booking an airport hotel with parking included, you can avoid the stress of navigating potentially dangerous roads on the morning of your flight. That way you can head to the airport the night before, without having to rush, and know that you've got a guaranteed space and warm bed waiting for you.

Airport hotels with parking

Book your hotel and parking together and get prepared for winter. Free cancellation too!