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NOV 18, 2014

How to drive in snow

Sitting inside your warm cosy house and watching the snow fall outside is one of the nicest things about winter; but having to go about your daily commute in freezing cold, wet conditions is not nice! Whether you’re a new driver or have racked up a fair few years behind the wheel, driving in snow is never pleasant, but it is something that must be done at times. Follow these tips to ensure you stay safe on the roads the next time the white stuff falls...

 

Make sure your vehicle is snow ready

If you’re planning a journey and it is snowing or forecast to snow it is important to make sure your vehicle is equipped to cope with the extreme and potentially dangerous weather conditions:

  • Check you tyre tread and ensure your tyres are in good condition for gripping the road; gaining traction in the snow with bald tyres is almost impossible.
  • Use a good quality screenwash that contains antifreeze and will prevent the water from freezing in the tank.
  • Remove snow from the top of your car before setting off; harsh braking can send the snow sliding onto your windscreen, hampering your vision.
  • Always defrost your car with lukewarm water or de-icer; hot or boiling water can cause your windscreen to crack!
  • Prepare for every eventuality by keeping the following items in your boot: demisting pad, torch, spare screenwash, de-icer, ice scraper, blanket, shovel, phone charger, map, and a square of carpet that you can use to gain traction if you get stuck in the snow.

 

Drive carefully in the snow

If you try to drive in the snow the same way you would normally drive then you could be putting yourself and other road users in danger. Take heed and follow this advice:

  • Accelerate gently using low revs, and change up to a higher gear as soon as possible after setting off; in fact, moving away in second gear is the best bet for avoiding wheel slips.
  • Snow and frost on the road make it harder to brake, so you may need to brake much earlier than usual and leave as much as ten times the normal gap between you and the car in front.
  • If the road has not been gritted avoid driving in the wheel tracks of other vehicles as the snow will have been compacted; instead drive on the fresh snow.
  • If you do start to skid it’s important to steer into it. For example if the rear of your car is sliding right you should steer right too.
  • All actions like braking, steering, accelerating, and changing gear should be slowed down and done more smoothly than normal.
  • Reduce your speed and allow yourself more time than usual to stop; slamming your brakes on will lock up the ABS and cause you to skid.
Created on 18th November 2014
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