Winter can bring all types of weather, but the most treacherous for driving is snow and ice. Recent significant rainfall has left standing water, which becomes more dangerous in freezing conditions.
Ice, and even just a flutter of snow wreaks havoc on the roads.
Many chose to avoid driving in such wintery conditions, but if you must, here’s our top 10 tips to driving safely in snow and rice:
- Always remove snow from your car before setting off. People often clear their windscreen just enough to see, but don’t fully clear the snow and ice. It’s a good idea to let the car warm up before you leave, to make sure that you have complete visibility. Snow from the top of your car can also be a danger, when it suddenly slips down your windscreen, or shoots onto the car behind you blocking their view.
- Drive slowly and use a low gear. Be gentle and avoid any harsh acceleration which is likely to cause wheel spin.
- To slow down, use engine braking through your gears – just tap the brakes gently to show those behind you.
- If you experience skidding or sliding when driving on snow or ice - try not to panic, and don’t slam on the brakes! Gently pump your brakes so you slow down gradually to a stop.
- If you’re approaching a hill, drop well back and wait until its clear of traffic so you won’t have to stop part way up. Keep a constant speed and try to avoid changing gear on the hill.
- Watch out for black ice. Black ice is a thin layer of almost transparent ice – which can be very slippery and dangerous. If you hit black ice, try to keep control of your car, and avoid any sudden manoeuvres. Take your foot off the accelerator and let your car pass over the ice or come to a stop.
- Leave a lot of space. Always allow extra space between you and car ahead, you need extra time to brake, and should they encounter any difficulties you don’t want to be too close.
- Allow yourself extra time. Terrible driving conditions is not the time to rush, so allow yourself plenty of time for your journey – it will take longer than usual.
- If you drive an automatic car – check your vehicle manual to see if your car has a setting for icy conditions.
- Consider winter tyres if you do a lot of winter driving – they provide extra grip in cold and wet conditions – not just for ice and snow.