Winter Driving Tips

Winter driving can be challenging for even the most experienced of motorists, especially when snow and ice are involved.  If you’ve never experienced it before it can be even more daunting, so here are some winter tips

 

Driving on Ice

Firstly, you should think about whether your journey is really necessary. Driving in ice is daunting, and lots of people, even those with years of driving experience can still find it a little scary. You could drive with a friend or parent who has more driving experience than you.

Roads are at their most icy, and their most dangerous, when the outside temperature is between zero and minus three degees celcius. So before setting off, check the temperature, and if it’s just below freezing you’ll need to take extra care.

How can you tell that you’re driving on ice? Well, usually ice on the road is visible, making it easy to detect. If the road is fully frozen over you should see a sparkle as the sunlight is reflected off of it, but if you’re driving at night or on black ice those easy to spot visual cues may not be present.  Black ice can be almost invisible, which makes it particularly dangerous. As a guide, if the temperature is below zero and the road surface looks wet, drive with caution as it could be black ice.

If you’re driving in winter and it’s below zero then you should assume that you’ll probably be driving on ice at some point in your journey, meaning that you should  change your driving style accordingly. 

It’s alos worth taking into account that tyre grip is hugely reduced on icy roads, which obviously means that braking distances are much longer.

If you do skid whilst driving on ice, steer gently into it, for example if the car is sliding to the right, then you should steer to the left  Do not take your hands off the wheel and do not brake hard.

 

Driving in Snow

Pretty much everything takes longer to do in the snow. As a result, if you need to drive somewhere you should give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination.  Your car will need to warm up a bit before you consider going anywhere. Put warm clothes on, get some deicer and make sure you clear your windscreen of snow and ice. Once that’s done, hop inside the car and put your internal blowers on. Don’t set off until you have a good view out of both the front and rear of the car.

All of this prep work is extra time you need to factor into your journey. In addition to this you need to be prepared for possible road closures and diversions. Some roads will be undrivable or even closed in snowy weather. This is why it pays off if you do some planning before you get in the car. It is a good idea to check the internet for any road closures and map some alternative routes for your journey.

In addition to this you should consider the fact that even if everything else goes smoothly, you should be driving at a slower speed than usual. Take things easy when you’re driving on winter roads. Quick movements are more likely to cause you to slide and lose control of your vehicle. Don’t be tempted to speed up it because other road users are driving faster. Accelerate slowly to make sure you gain traction and move slowly when you change lanes, turn, and pull out when driving in the snow.

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