Driving guides

Driving Home for Christmas

Winter can wreak havoc on your car, so make sure everything is up to speed with our handy guide to driving during Christmas.

Winter is the time of mince pies, festive tunes and mulled wine, but it's also the time of heavy snow fall, icy roads and severe rain storms. It's always a good idea to keep your car in tip top shape for when you decide to enjoy a Christmas road trip, so I've put together a list of my top tips for making sure your car is in the best condition it can be. Now, all you have to do is check-off this simple to do list, and head out onto the big open road for an amazing journey across Europe, for a Christmas you'll never forget.

Give your car a health check

The weather can be unpredictable at the best of times, so it's always a good idea to be prepared for any situation you may encounter. Here are a handful of ways you can make sure you give your journey the healthy kick-start it needs, for an enjoyable holiday across the Channel.

Got your anti-freeze?

Anti-freeze is a godsend for every car in winter, as it prevents the inner workings of your vehicle from freezing up.  It's a simple check that shouldn't take long; either you or your local garage engineer can check the coolant level of your anti-freeze, to guarantee everything's in working order.

The dreaded morning ice scrape
The dreaded morning ice scrape

Charge your battery

Dead or old batteries are the most common cause of a winter breakdown, so if your car is older than five-years, then it's a good idea to get your battery checked by your local garage, to ensure it's raring to go.

Light it up

With fog and heavy rain a likely hazard during the winter, it's always a good idea to check that all your lights are in full working order. To be even more prepared, take some extra bulbs along for the ride.

Check your tyres

All winter tyres need a minimum of 3mm tread, so if yours are looking a little thin on the ground, be sure to get them replaced at your local garage. If you're heading to the French Alps for a skiing holiday, then be sure to invest in some snow chains - they will make driving through the snow-covered roads so much easier and safer.

Get snow chains for your tyres.
Get snow chains for your tyres.

Prepare your locks and seals for the winter chill

If you're tired of having to defrost your car's doors just to enter, then a great way to prevent this is by rubbing a thin layer of Vaseline onto the rubber seals - it'll stop any freezing. And, if your car's locks have a habit of freezing over, you can avoid this by simply spraying water dispersant into them the evening before your big drive.

Things to pack for a winter drive

As well getting your car ready, it's also wise to keep yourself prepared for all circumstances. To keep yourself warm, in case the issue of a car breakdown does arise, be sure to pack plenty of winter woollies, as well as snack and cereal bars to keep those hunger-pangs at bay. And, as well as the basics of de-icer, a spare tyre, and torch for when it's dark, it's also good to know the number of any local garages in the country you're travelling to. Or, even better, get specialist European breakdown cover, a feature that many of the UK's vehicle services offer.

Finally, don't forget your sat-nav or smartphone; they're both intrinsic in getting you safely and quickly from A to B.

Explore Chamonix
Explore Chamonix

Get in the festive mood with a Christmas playlist

Any festive car journey wouldn't be the same without a Christmas playlist to sing along to. To get you in the mood for a wintery drive of merriness and excitement, I've put together a list of my top five favourite festive sing-alongs. So, book your journey across the Channel with Eurotunnel Le Shuttle today, and you'll be humming away to the melodies of Wham!, Noddy Holder and Bing Crosby in no time.

  1. Slade - Merry Xmas Everybody
  2. Bing Crosby - White Christmas
  3. Darlene - Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home)
  4. The Pogues  and Kirsty MacColl - Fairytale of New York
  5. Wham! - Last Christmas