As parts of the UK wake up to snow settled on the roads outside, and others are seeing it start to come down as the day goes on, we know that some drivers will be concerned about driving in it. This is why we’ve rounded up our five top tips for staying safe whilst driving in this cold snap.
Please note this is not an extensive guide to safety in the snow and if you ever feel unconfident driving in poor weather then we recommend not getting behind the wheel where avoidable.
Five Tips for Safe Snow Driving
1. Check Your Tyres
We know that we mention tyres a lot but that’s because they’re such an important part of the vehicle. This is especially true in cold and wet weather that affects the road surface, as worn tyres have less grip meaning it’s easier to skid when you encounter wet or icy spots.
We’ve got a guide to checking your tyres here but for the tread you should make sure that it is at least 1.6 mm around the entire centre of the wheel across the inner three-quarters. Driving with tyres that have a tread depth below this is illegal and will cause your car to fail its MOT and this is because it’s dangerous to drive on tyres with low tread as you’ll have less traction and be more likely to skid. When you add snow and ice to that the risk is much greater which is why you should make sure your tyres are safe to drive on before heading out.
2. Clear Your Vehicle
Everyone knows that you need to clean your windscreens of snow but it’s also important that you clear the rest of the exterior as well.
Rule 229 of the Highway Code states that you must demist and clear all your mirrors, clean your lights, make sure your number plate is visible and that all your windows are clear before setting off.
It’s important that all your windows and lights are cleared of any snow to ensure you have maximum visibility while driving, especially if it is still snowing where you are.
Additionally, you should clean any snow from your roof and bonnet to prevent it from flying off when you are driving and causing a hazard to yourself or other drivers while moving.
3. Dry Your Feet
You control the vehicle with your hands and your feet, which is why it’s important that you make sure your shoes are as dry as possible to provide you with the best grip on your pedals. This is especially important when we have bad weather such as snow which can cause you a potential hazard on the road which you may need to react quickly to.
Where possible we advise making sure you knock off as much snow as possible outside of the vehicle and then wiping your feet on the floormat to remove any excess water to minimise the wetness of your shoe tread before putting your feet on the pedals.
4. Go Slow
With snow on the ground, you should go slower than you normally would, this not only reduces the risk of skidding or wheelspin but also gives you more time to react to any potential hazard.
You should leave a little earlier than you usually would to allow yourself this extra time, and avoid feeling like you need to speed up as you progress on your journey to arrive on time.
Once you’re in the car you should travel at a lower speed than usual but try to maintain a constant speed, ensuring you change gear and brake slowly and smoothly to avoid the risk of skidding.
Additionally, you’ll want to leave plenty of room between you and the car in front, some recommend up to 10 times the usual recommended gaps. This will give you more time and space to react if they are involved in an accident and reduce the risk of your vehicle hitting them whilst still maintaining slow and safe actions that prevent you from skidding as well.
5. Be Gentle
You should accelerate gently in order to prevent the wheels from spinning too fast and your vehicle becoming stuck in the snow. There’s
Additionally, if you use low revs and change up to a higher gear more quickly than you usually would in order to avoid slipping as well.
If you’d like to learn more about looking after your car in colder times then take a look at this guide.
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