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Winter Driving Tips

Winter Driving Tips

 Winter Driving Tips for UK Motorists: Stay Safe on Slippery Roads

 

Now that we have had our first real signs that winter is here to stay. The days grow shorter and temperatures plummet, the UK’s roads become treacherous, posing a significant risk to motorists. Whether you’re commuting to work or making the school run, it’s crucial to be prepared for the challenges of winter driving..

Primary roads, motorways and many busy areas may have taken advantage of road gritting but it is inevitable that you’ll sooner or later need to drive through slushy  snow, over patches of ice or even worse black ice that can not be seen.

Everyone has a story about a time when we’ve had a poor experience driving within the snow and there is nohing upsetting or worrying than losing controll of a vehicle.

The very first thing you need to consider is preparation…

 

Driving in the snow

Preparation is Key

  1. Dedicated Time for Preparation: Allow extra time for your morning routine to ensure you have enough time to prepare your vehicle for the harsh weather conditions.

  2. Clear Windows and Roof: Use de-icer and a scraper to remove all ice and snow from the windows, mirrors, and roof. Clearing the roof prevents snow from sliding onto the windscreen while driving.

  3. Emergency Kit: Pack an emergency kit with essential items such as a scraper, de-icer, phone charger, torch, extra clothes, blankets, food, jump leads, tow rope, hazard warning triangle, and a shovel in case you get stuck in the snow or break down.

  4. Warm Footwear: Wear dry, warm footwear to avoid slipping on the pedals. Snow-covered or wet shoes can make it difficult to maintain control of the vehicle.

 

Driving Strategies for Winter Roads

  1. Plan Your Route: Prioritise main roads that are more likely to be gritted and cleared. Avoid minor roads or routes that tend to be snow-covered or icy for longer periods.

  2. Reduce Speed: Significantly reduce your speed to compensate for reduced traction and longer stopping distances. Aim for a safe speed that allows you to maintain control and react to sudden changes in the road conditions.

  3. Smooth Driving: Avoid sudden acceleration, braking, or steering maneuvers. Make smooth, controlled movements to minimize the risk of losing control.

  4. Gear Selection: Maintain a consistent speed in the highest gear possible to avoid wheel spin. Drop down gears gradually for inclines and uphill stretches.

  5. Accelerate Slowly: Accelerate slowly from standstill to prevent wheel spin and ensure your tyres have adequate grip.

  6. Braking Technique: Apply the brakes gently and steadily, avoiding sudden or harsh braking. Feather the brakes to maintain controlled deceleration.

  7. Emergency Skidding: If your car starts to skid, avoid panicking. Press the clutch and steer in the direction of the skid to regain control. Avoid braking abruptly.

  8. Ice Detection: Listen for a change in tyre noise. If the tyre noise diminishes, it’s an indication you may be driving on ice. Be extra vigilant and slow down.

winter driving

Additional Tips for Safe Winter Driving

  1. Maintain Vehicle Maintenance: Ensure your vehicle is in tip top condition, especially tyre tread depth and fluid levels. Consider winter tyres for enhanced traction in snow and ice.

  2. Avoid Distractions: Eliminate distractions such as using mobile devices or eating while driving. Focus on the road and maintain situational awareness.

  3. Allow Extra Space: Maintain a safe following distance from other drivers to provide ample space for reaction in case of sudden maneuvers or braking.

  4. Use Hazard Lights: Flash your hazard lights to warn other drivers of potential hazards or if you need assistance.

  5. Be Patient and Consider Alternate Options: If conditions are extremely hazardous, consider postponing your journey or seeking alternative modes of transportation.

 

Winter Driving Tips Summary

Remember, safety should always be your top priority. By following these tips and practicing cautious driving habits, you can navigate the winter roads with confidence and reduce the risk of accidents.

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