Staying safe when driving in the Snow
Wherever possible, it’s always advisable not to take your car out driving in the snow, but we do realise that some journeys are unavoidable. If this is the case then follow this essential advice on how to stay safe on the roads whilst driving in the snow.
Prepare your car for driving in the snow
Clear windows and lights
Driving in the snow can seriously impair your vision and reduce visibility. Make sure all your lights are clear and your windows are clear of snow, thoroughly de-iced and de-misted before you begin your journey.
Make sure your screenwash is topped up and contains the correct ratio to stop it from freezing and to maximize cleaning whilst out driving in the snow.
Important steps to stay safe whilst driving in the snow
Use dipped headlights unless visibility is less than 100 metres, and then you should use front and/or rear fog lights. But you must remember to turn these off once visibility increases.
If you’re driving in the snow and it starts to land on your windscreen, use your windscreen wipers to help improve your vision. Watch your speed and always remember that pedestrians, cyclists and other road users will be less visible too.
As the snow settles and starts to cover the road surface, the grip of your wheels will be reduced which will affect the overall control of your vehicle. Special care must also be taken as snow may be hiding road signs or markings.
Cornering in the snow
When cornering on snow DO NOT brake as it could cause your car to spin.
Reduce your speed
Ensure that all your movements are gentle and progressive when driving in the snow. Reduce your speed to suit the road conditions and ensure that you use your accelerator, brakes and steering carefully with smooth movements to reduce your risk of skidding.
Skidding in the snow
If you feel your vehicle starting to skid whilst driving in the snow, gently release the accelerator and steer in the direction of the skid.
Stopping distances when driving in the snow
Stopping distances will increase considerably (up to 10 times) when driving in the snow, so it’s vital that you reduce your speed and keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front.
Take your time when driving in the snow
When driving in the snow, it’s essential that you allow plenty of time for your journey and try to avoid travelling in the dark or at dusk. But most importantly, if conditions are getting worse, don’t be afraid to turn around and come home.
Winter checklist for driving in the snow
Here’s a list of items that you should carry in your vehicle if you do have to make a journey in the snow:
- Ice scraper
- Extra clothing
- High visibility jacket
- Bottle of water
- High energy snack such as chocolate
- Flash of tea or coffee
- Torch with spare batteries
- Fully charged mobile phone
- First aid kit
- Jump leads
- Warning triangle
- Sunglasses (the glare off snow can be dazzling)
- Number of a breakdown organisation such as the AA or RAC