The first rule of driving in bad snowy or icy conditions is don't bother unless it is unavoidable!
If you do have to make a journey then bear the following in mind and as always don't take risks and use your common sense! When driving in wintery weather, gentle small manoeuvres are important. Don't accelerate or brake suddenly and always be aware of other vehicles and try to anticipate what they are doing.
Is your vehicle ready for the road
Driving in snow or ice is challenging enough, but make sure above all that your van or car is ready for the journey!
- Check all your levels
- Replace the anti-freeze in your radiator
- Make sure your windscreen is clean and add anti-freeze screenwash
- Check all your lights front, rear and internal!
- Check your battery and replace it NOW if required
- Check your tyres and make sure they are inflated correctly
Winter driving basics
Before you leave - remember driving in snow and ice is not the same as driving on a nice dry tarmac road surface, you need to have your wits about you and be thinking and anticipating more than usual.
- Do wear comfortable, dry shoes for driving. Cumbersome, snow-covered boots will slip on the pedals.
- Remember it's easier to avoid skidding than it is to correct a skid
- If possible pull away in second gear, easing your foot off the clutch gently to avoid wheel-spin.
- When going up a hill avoid having to stop part way up by waiting until it is clear of other traffic.
- Try to keep your speed constant, choosing the most suitable gear well in advance to avoid having to change down on the hill.
- When travelling down hill, reduce your speed before the hill, use a low gear and try to avoid using the brakes. Leave as much room as possible between you and the vehicle in front.
- If you have to use brakes then apply them gently. Release the brakes and de-clutch if the car skids.
- Try to drive with your lights on dipped - this reduces the glare of the snow falling for you and also prevents dazzling other drivers
- As tempting as it is, don't leave your heater on all the time - this can cause drowsiness and reduce you ability to react.. but don't get too cold either!
If you get stuck
- Don't panic - think about your situation before acting in haste
- Straighten up your steering wheel and clear as much snow from the wheels as you can.
- While stuck try turning the steering wheel left and right. This will help move and melt any snow or ice under the front wheels, and allow traction
- Aid traction by putting something under the wheels e.g Car mats, old rug, sack .. anything with grip
- If you cannot move your car on your own, get help as soon as you can
- If you have to wait in your vehicle, do not leave the engine running constantly. Fumes can build up.
- If all else fails and you have to abandon your vehicle, make sure that the vehicle can easily be seen by others. Use a warning triangle if you have one. Make sure your vehicle is secure
- If you leave your vehicle make sure you are safe and easily visible to other road users
Please note this information is provided simply as a guide, we accept no liability for any accidents or vehicle problems.