Are you fully prepared to drive in the snow?
- 08 January 2014
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Driving in severe snowy conditions is no driver’s idea of fun and with winter around the corner it could be a situation motorists find themselves in very soon. With the wintry weather on the horizon it is worth taking some time to get prepared for the challenges snow-covered roads provide.
The preparation for driving in the snow begins before you get behind the wheel. You should ensure your winter tyres are fitted correctly and that you have a minimum of 3mm of tread on the tyres. This additional tread will allow drivers to cope better in wet, icy and snowy conditions. To get a new set fitted you can visit ATS Euromaster.
You should also check your battery as this can run down quicker in the winter months, as well as monitoring your levels of screenwash. This should also be supplemented with a proper additive that prevents it from freezing in sub-zero conditions.
Once you’ve made sure you have an emergency kit in the car should you get stuck, the fuel is topped up, the windows are cleared of snow and ice and you have additional warm clothing you are ready to set off.
For many, driving in snowy conditions is a struggle, but there are a number of tips you can implement to make it easier.
When driving in snow, speed is key. You need to make sure to drive fast enough to keep up the momentum and not get stuck, but slow enough to remain in control of the vehicle and avoid collisions.
Starting from stationary, it is important to avoid high revs, and it may be of benefit to put the car into second gear to gain extra purchase. Double or even triple your normal stopping distance from the vehicle in front, even if your vehicle is fitted with winter tyres.
It is important to drive at a speed so you do not rely on your brakes to be able to stop – as on an icy surface they simply may not do that for you!
Braking and steering
Braking and steering in snowy conditions is very difficult and there are specific techniques to use when behind the wheel. Should your car enter into a skid it is important to take your foot off the pedals and steer, rather than breaking even harder. This will only exacerbate the problem and could lead to a collision.
The brakes should only be employed when it is clear you cannot steer out of trouble. Stopping distances, whether using the brake or just steering, should be tripled, and you should not rely on ABS in snowy or slippery conditions, as this will not give you the same control.
Driving on the motorway
Quick blizzards and bursts of snow can also bring the motorway network to a halt, so you should be prepared for driving on these major roads, as well as local roads and estates.
When on the motorway, it is important to stay in the clearest lane where possible, away from the slush and ice. In many cases this will be lane one or two and you should try to stay in the clear tracks of vehicles in front where possible, reducing the risk of a skid and collision.
Should snow begin to fall while driving, use dipped headlights or fog lights to make sure you are visible to other road users.