Waking up to a blanket of snow on the ground means snowball fights, building snowmen and going sledging, but it also brings difficult driving conditions too. When we expect freezing conditions we normally get a weather warning from the Met Office, however you should always take extra care when travelling in snow and icy conditions, that’s why we at CarCliq have put together some top tips when it comes to driving on roads that are covered in frost, ice or snow.
- Try and avoid travelling in extreme weather unless it is absolutely necessary to do so. If you do have to travel, make it your priority to listen to local and nationwide news bulletins for travel advice and plan your journey ahead. Think about where you are going and what road and traffic conditions will be like. If you can, avoid travelling on less-used roads or country lanes as these are less likely to be gritted.
- Before setting off, clear all your windows and mirrors fully. Clear off snow piled on the roof of your car and the bonnet too, as it can fall and blow on to the windscreen.
- Start your car gently from stationary and avoid high revs. If road conditions are extremely icy and you drive a manual car, you should move off in a higher gear rather than first gear to avoid wheel spin.
- It’s important you get your speed right when travelling in snow. Drive too fast and you could risk losing control, but drive too slowly and you could lose momentum when trying to get up an incline.
- Make sure you slow down sufficiently before reaching a bend to avoid skidding but also giving yourself enough time to react to any hazards that appear as you go round it.
TIP: You should have finished slowing down before you start to turn the steering wheel.
- Increase your following distance from the vehicle in front of you. It may take up to 10 times as long to stop on snow or ice, so factor this in when it comes to your following distance.
- In the event that you break down or have to pull over on a motorway or dual carriageway, you should leave your vehicle and stand a safe distance away, ideally well over the armco (metal safety barrier) at the nearside of the road, but not in front of it, when waiting for help.
IAM RoadSmart’s head of driving and riding standards, Richard Gladman, offered this additional advice to motorists: “Many of the problems associated with travel during snow could be avoided if people planned in advance. People routinely travel with only the minimum of safety equipment, without realising their journey could be a lot longer than expected…At the very least you should have a shovel, torch, blanket, jump-leads and tow rope. You should ensure your mobile phone is fully charged, and the number of your recovery organisation is saved into it. A bottle of water and a snack may also prove useful and don’t set out without knowing the locations of petrol stations on your way.”
While this might all sound obvious, too many of us actually forget to do any of this when driving in extreme weather conditions. Don’t be one of the ill-prepared, take our top tips into consideration and stay safe when it comes to travelling in snow and icy weather conditions.
Why not check out our Winter Car Checklist to ensure you're prepared for the winter weather.
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