Winter driving often requires even more caution from drivers as the threat of snow and ice on the road increases.
The problems range from lack of grip to reduced visibility. To help, we've put together a list of top winter driving tips below.
How should you prepare for safe driving in snow?
Before heading off in the snow, plan your journey carefully and keep up to date with local weather reports.
- Allow more time than you usually would and ensure all the snow is clear from your vehicle.
- It is actually against the law to drive with snow on your car.
- Carry a lock de-icer with you to clear your locks.
- Make sure any auto wiper control is switched off before turning the ignition on.
- If they are frozen to the screen the control fuse will blow.
- Check your tyres for adequate tread so the grip is sufficient. If conditions are very bad you may want to consider using snow socks or chains.
- Use a good screenwash that protects down to at least -35C to prevent the water from freezing.
Being gentler on the throttle and brakes and slowing down, particularly on rural or ungritted routes, can help ensure a safe and trouble-free journey.
How can you drive safely in snow and ice?
2019 RAC patrol of the year Ben Aldous said: "Windscreens should be completely cleared of ice and snow before moving off so visibility isn’t impaired.
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"Drivers who start out peering through a misted up or poorly cleared windscreen are putting lives at risk."
Start by accelerating gently, use low revs and change up to a higher gear as quickly as possible.
Move off in second gear to reduce wheel slip.
Keep a safe stopping distance between you and the car in front.
When approaching a bend, brake before you start turning and if the car loses grip don't panic and keep the wheels turned in the direction you want to go in.
If visibility drops below 100m, put your fog lights on. But remember to turn them off when the visibility improves.
If the road has not been gritted, be wary of driving in the wheel tracks or other vehicles as compressed snow is likely to offer less grip than fresh snow.
How do you demist your windscreen?
A clear windscreen is essential for visibility at all times, but especially when there are snowflakes falling.
Fog and mist can ruin your ability to see out the front windshield on a snowy day.
With a clever climate control system, these features will automatically adjust to achieve the best results.
But if you do not have air-con or climate control, you'll have to clear the fog manually.
One tip is to leave your windows slightly open to clear the windscreen faster.
Turn on your car and start your heater off cold.
Then slowly increase the temperature, this will stop the car from becoming full of hot, wet air.
Make use of the air-con if you have the feature as this will prevent condensation.
Never drive away until your windscreen is clear.
What do you do if your car is sliding on ice?
It can be terrifying when your car slides on ice.
But it is best not to panic as there are simple steps you can take to stop the sliding.
It is important not to slam on the brakes when sliding, as this could send your car careering out of control.
If your front wheels begin to slide, take your foot off the accelerator and allow the vehicle to slow.
If you still do not have control of your vehicle after a few seconds, lightly press the brake.
If your back wheels are the ones causing the sliding, gently turn your wheel in the direction you are sliding while taking your foot off the accelerator, but do not brake.
Generally, the key to end sliding is to gradually slow down.
What is the best gear to use in snow?
The RAC says you should move off in second gear as this will help reduce wheel slip.
When changing gear, drivers should maintain a safe distance from cars in front of them.
Use a low gear for going downhill and try to avoid braking unless necessary, the RAC says.
Controls such as the brakes, as well as the steering, accelerator and even gear changing should be operated smoothly and slowly.
What speed should I drive in snow?
When driving in the snow, you should keep your speed down.
You should also allow more time to stop and steer.
If driving with snow chains fitted, you should not travel at speeds in excess of 30mph.
More driving tips for the cold weather months
- Six things drivers need to know about driving in snow and ice
- Why won't my car start in the cold weather?
- Eight things to keep drivers safe from snow
- Seven dos and don'ts for driving in ice and snow
- Drivers urged to check car batteries during the colder months
- Warming up your car can be bad for your engine
- Five essentials to pack before heading out on wintery roads
- Can you drive on black ice?
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