It’s nearly time for weather experts all across the country to utter the 5 words we’re all dreading – the worst winter on record. Granted, it’s rare that this is actually true, but we can never be too careful. When winter rolls around, the threat of cold weather, ice and snow throws the roads into chaos.
Harsh wintry conditions can be scary for drivers of all ages and experience. Driving in snow has several inherent dangers attached to it and if weather conditions are that bad, it is recommended to only drive if necessary. If you are planning a trip out during a wintry shower, then here are our tips to keeping safe on the roads.
Make sure to account for lower traction in snow, especially if there’s significant surface snow. It goes without saying that you should keep your speed down when driving in treacherous conditions. Make sure you accelerate and brake slowly to keep as much control as possible. If you can, try pulling off in second gear to ensure your wheels don’t spin.
While it’s recommended to keep more distance between you can the car in front whilst driving, it’s especially important to increase your braking distances to avoid skidding. With bad weather affecting your visibility, it’s likely that you will need to take longer to react as cars’ stopping distances will be longer. The suggested braking distance for snowy and icy conditions is 10x the norm.
Clear your Car
In the UK, you could be penalised for driving if your car has too much snow on it. If it falls onto your windscreen, it can affect your visibility and can cause a danger to other drivers if it gets blown off while you’re driving. Before you set off make sure to fully clear your car (roof included) of any snow that could fall off and cause an obstruction.
It’s not enough to ensure you are doing everything you can to stay safe in the snow. In wintry conditions, keep an eye on the cars around you. Bear in mind that other drivers may not be able to stop at junctions or traffic lights, so leave an appropriate gap between you and the car in front. Oncoming traffic is unpredictable, so watch their behaviour. If they slide or skid towards you, you might have to manoeuvre to avoid them.
Improved tyre technology combined with the bad winters the UK has experienced in recent years has helped to boost the sales and popularity of winter tyres. Due to their optimised tread and improved traction on ice and snow, winter tyres are the superior choice to ensure you stay safe whilst driving in bad conditions. They provide much better handling and control of the car and improved braking distances. We could talk for days about the benefits of winter tyres, but you can click here for a full run-down.
While it is recommended to drive slowly, avoid hard acceleration, abrupt braking or movements, skidding can’t always be avoided – especially in bad weather conditions such as rain, ice and snow. If you do find yourself skidding on a slippery road, follow these general rules of thumb:
Take your foot off the accelerator
Don’t use the brake
Carefully steer in the direction of the skid. If the car rear skids ton the left, steer to the left
For more driving tips and information about preparing your car for winter, visit our blog.