In the winter months we are sometimes forced to drive in conditions that we are not comfortable in or that were unexpected. Preparation is key and can prevent an unpleasant experience being made worse.
Before you leave home.
UK weather is changeable and unpredictable and in the winter months that can mean that road conditions become challenging.
Always check the forecast before setting out in your car, particularly if you are travelling a long distance or off the main roads. Don’t just look locally if you are going on a long journey, check where you are going to. If you are going to be away overnight or for a while have a look at the forecast for your return journey too.
If snow and ice are forecast, then avoid heading out unless you absolutely have to and if you do travel then allow yourself plenty of extra time and plan carefully for your journey.
Prepare yourself and the car.
To keep yourself comfortable pack warm clothes, a blanket food and a drink. Make sure you have the correct boots and outdoor clothing with you in case you have to leave your vehicle.
Always have your mobile phone and a charger with you.
Have a shovel, torch, jump-start cables and de-icer with you.
Have contact details of your breakdown company and emergency contacts easily to hand.
Don’t set out if you suspect there is an issue with your car or if your tyres aren’t road legal.
Make sure you have a full bottle of screen wash (not water).
Fill up your tank, if you get stuck, you’ll want to run the engine for heat so will use extra fuel.
Clear all the snow and ice off your car before you drive. Snow on the roof can move over your windscreen or fly off and hit someone else’s car.
Driving in snow
Before you set off or if you get stuck, clear the snow in front of your car’s wheels and pull away slowly keeping the wheel straight.
If your wheels are spinning as you set off, try second gear and push down the accelerator very slowly.
Put an old blanket, car mat or sack under the front of the wheel to get more grip.
Slow down. Your car will take longer to stop than usual.
Drive smoothly, stay in high gears, stop and start gradually.
Remember even a light sprinkling of snow can be slippy, and you may be able to see ice.
Brake before a bend as turning the wheel and breaking at the same time may make you skid. If you do skid, turn the wheel in the direction the car is going, and then try to slow down and re-steer the car. Do everything as slowly and gradually as you can.