Safe driving for winter wanderers

2017 saw an unexpected peak in the popularity of winter caravanning, and 2018 looks set for similar success.  For many people, exploring snowy mountains or tranquil lakes in crisp sunshine makes for the perfect winter getaway. However, even if you’re not specifically aiming for this, with the good old British weather it’s always wise to plan for wintery conditions just in case.  Towing a caravan is a slightly different prospect in poor weather; for a start your car's kerbweight and caravan's MTPLM will dramatically affect your stopping distances on wet or icy roads.  With the right precautions you can ensure happy campers, whatever the weather.

Back to basics
While a reported 75% of millennials don’t know how to change a tyre, a confident winter camper needs to be sure of their maintenance skills.  Save yourself the initial hard work and book an annual service or winter check at your local garage, making sure that your car or camper van’s antifreeze levels are topped up, the lights work on both the car and the caravan or camper van, and the tyre treads are safe for winter conditions.  Before you leave, make sure you have a full tank of fuel, some basic tools, warm clothing and a fully charged phone, in case of any diversions along the way.

Refresh your memory
Recent research has revealed that a worrying three quarters of drivers no longer remember some of the basics of the Highway Code.  While you may feel confident on your road sign knowledge, it’s worth brushing up on some of the less familiar signs which you may encounter on your travels.  If it’s been a while since you drove in snow, ice or fog, remind yourself of the best gears to use and calculate safe stopping distances, taking into account the additional weight you are towing.  It can be unexpectedly common to find yourself speeding in poor weather conditions; poor visibility and unfamiliar roads may leave you wrong-footed, so be extra vigilant and take your time.

Taking a camping trip during the winter season requires perhaps a little more preparation than a summer trip, but when the rewards are quiet unspoilt beauty, and crisp clear skies, it’s well worth the effort.  Make sure you’ve carried out your basic maintenance checks, brushed up on your winter driving skills, and packed some essentials in the event of unforeseen delays. Then head out into the winter sunshine for breathtaking views and miles of smiles.

Our guest blogger Jennifer Dawson grew up in an outdoors family in the US. A lover of camping and hiking, she today oversees the popular American blog site

Read more about winter camping from Jennifer here, plus download the Club's data sheet Winter touring in caravans and motorhomes for more practical advice.

Guest Blog This is a guest blog entry. All views are that of the author and not necessarily shared by the Club. Mention of any product or service on the blog does not constitute endorsement by the Club. All blog posts are moderated before going live. Read other posts by this author