Winter is the most difficult season to drive. As well as the cold temperatures that can affect your body and take your focus away from your driving, the road itself can often be covered in the most treacherous types of terrain. Snow is not a common sight in the UK, so when it does come, we are almost always caught off guard. Ice is far more common, but a lot more difficult to see and cope with. So we’ve collected together our top tips to teach you how to drive in snow and on ice.
The biggest advice we can give when it’s snowing is to avoid driving if you can. The blanket of the white stuff can easily leave you stranded in the middle of nowhere, as the conditions on the road quickly become covered in snow and cars become almost useless.
If you can’t avoid driving, then we suggest you give yourself plenty of time. Snow will mean that road markings are not as easy to see, if at all. So you’ll need to take your time at junctions because, even if you are familiar with the roads, the other drivers you encounter may not be.
Other drivers are also likely to be a lot more cautious too, so if you are in a rush, you can probably find yourself getting frustrated with the pace they are moving. By giving yourself more time, you can ensure that it’s one less thing to worry about.
You should also dress warmly and take some spare clothing with you. If you get snowed in on your travels, you may need to walk a distance for help. And if you can get help, you might end up waiting for a long time for assistance to arrive.
Ice is almost more dangerous than snow. The biggest reason is it’s not as easy to see. You might also find yourself going from properly gritted roads to ones that aren’t. Again, if you can’t avoid driving, take your time. The faster you go, the less control you have.
This is especially important if you live in hilly areas. Steep slopes are where you are most likely to end up sliding. If you can’t avoid them, then take them carefully. Don’t go too fast, apply the brake slowly, and hope you don’t end up sliding into anything if you do lose control!
If your car does spin, what do you do? There is often debate over this, but the answer is you need to steer gently into it. Steer too hard and you will lose more control and end up going sideways. If you steer away from the skid, you are likely to end up spinning. Not fun!
Whenever you lose control, don’t brake hard. This will leave you sliding as your brakes apply to the wheels, but momentum keeps you forward.
Whether you think snow or ice is coming, make sure you check the tyre tread on your car. The grip you have on the road will be the most important part of your driving, so if you don’t have the tread you need, you will be vulnerable to an accident.