Advice For Driving In The Snow
January 28, 2020 at 10:29 AM
Snow can make driving incredibly difficult and our advice would be to avoid driving if snow is heavy and roads aren’t clear. However, we can’t just grind to a halt when it snows and need to get to work, school, home etc. So, when faced with winter weather, you should make sure you are prepared.
Planning for the journey
There are things you should take into account before you set off in any kind of poor weather, probably more so when it is snowing.
- You should plan your journey ahead of time and if the weather is particularly bad, check the traffic reports for your area.
- You should plan for a longer journey so leave earlier than you normally would. This will mean you can take your time, account for others doing likewise and allow you to focus on driving safely, not quickly.
- You should also check that your car is in good condition, so make sure your tyres are properly inflated and have good tread. Low tread in snow can make your car struggle for grip so if your tyres are low on tread we would suggest avoiding driving until you can have them replaced.
- You should also check that your screenwash is filled and with a winter solution to avoid freezing.
- And as an extra precaution, pack a snow kit so if anything happens on the roads you are prepared. We would suggest packing a blanket, food and water in case you get stuck for a period.
It is also good practice to keep the following in your car, particularly for this type of weather: torch, shovel, de-icer and window scraper, a first aid kit and warning triangle. For journeys in the snow in particular, it’s a good idea to keep some off cuts of carpet which are excellent for putting underneath tyres that are stuck.
- And make sure your phone is charged and/or that you have a charger available. In the event of emergency this will be essential.
How to drive in snow
There are a number of things you can and should do to make journeys in snow safe and comfortable.
- You should always operate the car slowly and smoothly – this goes for your steering, accelerating and braking.
- When accelerating, do so very slowly and try to do it from standstill in second gear. This will reduce the likelihood of your tyres slipping as you can pull away with less revs. If your car has a snow function, of course, turn this on and refer to your handbook also.
- When braking, do so softly and smoothly and well in advance.
- Get up to speed and try to maintain a constant, safe speed in a high gear.
- In traffic, leave big gaps between you and the car in front. It’s advisable to leave as much as 10 times what you would normally leave as this is how much longer it can take a car to stop in ice and snow.
- Think ahead at all times. By looking further ahead and thinking about the next steps in your journey you can make life a lot easier. If you know a junction is coming up and that you need to slow, do so early and let the car calmly decelerate.
- If you are coming up on a hill, hold back a little from traffic in front so that you can maintain your speed without being slowed and haven’t to change down gear. On a slippery hill this can cause you to lose traction and momentum.
- Similarly, if you know a bend is upcoming, slow down early so that you are at the speed you want before you reach the junction, don’t brake through it when possible.
- If however, you do feel your car losing grip, releases the accelerator and keep your wheels pointing in your direction of travel and don’t sharply move the steering wheel to try and regain control. If this develops into a skid, steer in to it and avoid accelerating or braking until the car can regain its grip.
- In heavy snowfall, visibility can be greatly reduced. So make sure your main headlights are on at all times and if visibility drops to less than 100m, turn on your fog lights if your car is equipped with them.
In summary, planning ahead, thinking ahead, driving slowly, steering smoothly and braking softly will all make your journey is snow safer and more comfortable.
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