Winter often involves slippery roads, limited visibility and icy conditions. With much talk of snow in the news this week, we wanted to share a few tips about driving in the snow.
But first, if the weather is particularly bad, then simply don’t drive at all. Some conditions are not worth the risk. Likewise, if your car is not prepared for snowy driving, then leave it at home.
The do’s and the don’ts of safe driving in the snow
DO make sure that your tyres have adequate tread on them. Winter tyres are especially manufactured for treacherous conditions with a unique rubber compound which forms traction when the road is particularly icy. They also offer an improved grip in temperatures below 7 degrees Celsius, even if not actually snowy. Winter tyres are much safer for driving in snow, whether in the city or in the countryside.
DON’T leave home without making sure that your fuel tank is at least half full. Bad road conditions create a slower drive which uses more fuel and you don’t want to be stuck at the side of the road miles from a fuel station.
DO make sure that your wiper blades are not worn out and use a screenwash which is suitable for freezing conditions.
DON’T throw hot water over your car to defrost it. Instead make use of good quality de-icer or ice scraper.
DO check that all the lights on your car are in full working order, especially headlights and taillights. You need to see – and be seen, especially in murky, snowy conditions.
DON’T leave home without allowing your car to warm up and defrost fully. You will probably need to allow more time so set that alarm five minutes earlier.
DO remove all snow piled on the roof of your car – if you have to stop abruptly it can fall down and obscure the windscreen. It can also be dangerous for other drivers if the snow falls from your car when driving.
DON’T drive fast or recklessly. Keep your speed down and allow more time to steer and stop.
DO drive with sunglasses if it is bright and sunny as the glare from the snow can have a significant impact on your vision.
DON’T drive too close to the car in front. You may need to leave up to ten times the recommended stopping distance between you and the car in front.
DO take snacks, warm clothing, jump leads and a shovel in case you get stuck or your car breaks down
DON’T forget to take your mobile and phone car charger with you so you can call for help if you car breaks down and let your family and friends know where you are
As a new driver, there’s always going to be a first time when you may need to drive in snow. If you have to set out on an essential journey it’s key that you are well prepared and allow yourself ample time.