Driving in the winter brings with it additional challenges. Darker nights, heavy rain, and sometimes snow and ice - and let’s face it, we live in the UK so there’s really no telling what kind of weather is coming next. Just because there are new challenges in the weather at this time of year, it doesn't mean you should stop, or delay, learning to drive. In fact, the opposite is true. Here’s why we think learning to drive in the winter is actually a good thing!
Should I continue (or start) learning to drive in the Winter?
In short; yes. We get it, when the evenings get dark we’d all rather be snuggled up on the sofa watching Christmas movies and digging into a takeaway, but trading in the delivery pizza for some private practice every now and then is going to help you build up your skill and confidence for driving during harsh weather. Don’t forget - when you pass your test, you’re going to need to tackle these weather conditions, so you may as well get in practice with a supervising driver whilst you’re learning. Whilst there are new challenges when driving in the winter months, it's vital that you learn how to get around them and get used to driving in adverse driving conditions. Remember, if you’re getting in private practice with your parents, it’s likely they’ve dealt with driving in these conditions before, so they’ll be on hand with help and guidance to get you through it!
What are the additional challenges?
Driving in winter will see you facing a lot of additional challenges - here are just some that you’ll likely come across:
Black Ice is dangerous because you can’t see it on the roads and if you do hit it, you have very little control over the car, meaning you could skid.
Driving in the snow is difficult too, you need to keep things especially slow and steady when driving in snow, and choosing a higher gear to pull away.
Heavy rain and driving can be scary, for example if you drive too quickly in the rain may cause you to Aquaplane, which means your tyres start travelling on the water, and not the road.
High speed winds
Driving in heavy winds can make you feel like you have little control over your car and can even see you swearving on the roads!
Whether you get behind the wheel as a learner in the winter or do it when you’ve passed your test the year later – you’re still going to have to tackle this weather (unless you hibernate for the winter, which honestly, now we say it, doesn’t sound too bad!). We have lots of tips and advice tackling all of the above in our dedicated blog all about winter driving tips.
Make sure your L plates are fitted correctly and are visible to other drivers. Bring some spares with you just in case they come off during your practice. Marmalade's magnetic plates, which are available to purchase directly from our Amazon site, are weather resistant and suitable for all weather types. Unsure of how to fit them? Check out our guide on everything you need to know about L plates!
Driving lessons in winter
If you’re learning to drive in the winter, your instructor will likely start you on very quiet roads where you can get to grips with how the car feels on snow and ice. If you don’t have this knowledge as a learner, then you’ll have to face this for the first time on more difficult roads which will add more pressure on you as a new driver.
You probably want to learn, pass and have your own freedom as soon as possible, right? Well learning to drive in the winter may take a little longer. Of course, learning to drive in the winter will help in the future, but if the road conditions are too dangerous, some instructors may reschedule your lesson for when the weather isn’t as bad.
Private practice is the perfect opportunity to get experience in a variety of real-life driving conditions and scenarios - and that includes winter driving. Pick up short term learner driver insurance today and make sure you’re getting in that driving practice, whatever the weather!