Don't let the wintry conditions take you by surprise.
Don't let the wintry conditions take you by surprise. There are many different types of adverse travel conditions that can affect you on the way to the airport.
We have put together a list of things to watch out for when you are travelling to the airport by car. If you are driving to the airport to drop someone off or to park your car while you are away - remember you can now add our UK road and travel updates via our text service Traffic Assistant during your parking booking process.
Starting off - check your car is ready for winter
- Plan ahead - check the weather and road conditions as far ahead as possible via the Highways Agency. Check local and national weather forecasts with the Met Office. Tune in to DAB Traffic Radio.
- Check and top up the anti-freeze in the radiator.
- Make sure your lights are clean and check that they are all working.
- Clean your windscreen and make sure that you have plenty of winter screen cleaner.
- If you have had trouble with your battery - get a new one...it's not going to get any better!
- If you are on the way to the airport you will have your baggage for the flight - pack another bag for any eventuality on the way. Pack a torch, snacks, a thermos of hot drink or soup. Wear warm comfortable clothing - change when you get there if you need to.
- Clear snow and ice from all windows, lights, mirrors and the roof. After starting your car, wait for the fog to clear from the interior of the windows so you will have good visibility all around.
- Keep your petrol tank sufficiently full - at least a half a tank is recommended.
- Make sure your tyres are correctly inflated and check the tread - you may need to replace them.
- For peace of mind, carry an emergency kit.
Driving when it's very cold
Ice and snow reduce the ability of your tyres to grip the road. Braking, accelerating and overtaking all become potentially dangerous.
- Check tyre pressures before starting off.
- Keep a good space between you and the car ahead.
- Take regular breaks.
- Make all changes of direction or speed with great care. Avoid heavy braking by looking ahead and anticipating hazards - then decelerate. When speeding up accelerate gradually. Avoid all fast wheel movements, wherever possible turn the steering wheel gently.
- If you skid, ease off the accelerator but do not brake suddenly.
- Keep your sunglasses in the car - the sun, low in the sky in winter, can be dazzling.
Foggy road conditions
- Watch out for fog - it drifts rapidly and is often patchy.
- Use dipped headlights, not main beam.
- Drive more slowly than you think you need to - fog is unpredictable.
- Use your fog lights but remember that they dazzle when visibility improves.
- Keep your distance - your lights can distract the car ahead.
- When the fog lifts, maintain a steady speed to protect against the consequences of hitting another bank of thick fog.
Rainy road conditions
In the rain stopping distances will be at least double those required for stopping on dry roads.
- Keep back from the vehicle in front.
- If steering becomes unresponsive, it probably means the water is preventing the tyres from gripping the road (hydroplaning). What to do if you start to hydroplane - there are two absolutely essential no-no's to remember should you experience the beginning of hydroplaning: Do not apply your brakes and do not turn your steering wheel; ease off your speed gradually.
- The rain and spray from vehicles may make it difficult to see and be seen. Keep a steady eye on the road and take more rests than you would normally take.
If you feel really apprehensive about the pending weather conditions, change your travel plans.
Holiday Extras can help to smooth your way by offering some great options for hassle-free airport hotels and parking. Of course you still have to travel - but you can set out earlier and avoid adverse driving conditions in the early mornings.
Look at our airport hotels with parking - you may find that an airport hotel combined with a parking package comes to less than the on-site parking alone. Even if it costs a little bit more it would be worth weighing up the pros and cons of staying at an airport hotel before your morning flight.