Winter driving guide 04 December 2012 by Gareth Evans Last Updated: 11 Aug 2014 Severe weather takes its toll on motorists Plan your journey so you use only major routes Our guide shows you how to stay safe on the road The UK is due for more severe winter weather and snow-covered roads this year. It may be picture-postcard material for photographers but the weather never fails to take its toll on unprepared motorists. The conditions last year saw a record number of calls to breakdown companies, with many unable to get to work hitting the economy hard. At Parkers our team of expert drivers have come up with a few tips on how to beat these adverse conditions... Leave extra time to defrost the windows and let the engine warm up before you head into the winter winds. Plan your journey well in advance and try to stay on major routes as these are more likely to be gritted. Try to carry a spare set of shoes in the car as your boots may slip on the pedals after being out in the snow. Do not make any sudden manoeuvres. Accelerate, steer and brake in a gentle fashion. Smoothness is the key. To avoid wheel spin on snow, consider choosing second gear for pulling away and don't use too much throttle. Try to make sure you brake in a straight line and brake in a progressive manner - if you brake mid-corner you will run the risk of skidding. If you do lock the brakes up, release the brake pedal to gain control of the vehicle again. Try to keep a large gap between you and the vehicle in front of you as you will need up to ten times more stopping distance than you would in the dry. Do not stop on a hill if possible as you will struggle to get traction when you go to move off. Descending hills should be completed in a controlled manner - choose a low gear and when possible refrain from using the brakes, instead letting the engine assist in slowing the car down. If you do get stuck, clear the snow from the driven wheels and if you have a sack or an old rug in the car, lay this in front of the driven wheels and this will aid traction to get you going again. Parkers' top tip: In our opinion, the best thing you can do is fit a set of winter tyres. Our comprehensive guide is here, including videos showing the differences between 'normal' and winter tyres. Tweet Related articles on Parkers Bluetooth - the debate Council gets interactive road works Over 400 people a month arrested for drug-driving Safety recall for popular Honda Jazz Driver training: A worthwhile exercise?