Tag Archives | Snow

Intelligent speed

Don’t allow other drivers to pressure you into going faster. If you are driving at what you feel to be the right speed for the road conditions, be it at or below the speed limit, you are in the right. Just because a speed limit states 60mph, for example, this doesn’t mean it’s always the right speed. Snow, ice or rain can dramatically reduce your car’s braking and handling abilities, and limit visibility. The right top speed for those conditions is that at which you feel safe, in control and able to react in time to anything up ahead. That could be 40mph or 0mph.

Winter sense

When driving, always dress appropriately for the weather. Today’s cars come with climate control, heated seats and powerful windscreen wipers, so it’s easy to be lulled into a false sense of security. But what if your heater suddenly doesn’t work or you break down during chilly weather? You will be caught out and quickly become cold. Plan ahead, make sure you’ve got a hat, scarf and coat plus a rug, a torch, mobile phone charger, and suitable provisions such as water and chocolate in case you get stranded at the roadside or stuck in a lengthy traffic jam. To help yourself and others, also keep a tow rope and shovel in your boot.

Winter wise

When you get home, always clear damp or snowy boots and clothing out of the car – if you leave them in overnight the moisture will evaporate and condense on the inside of all your windows. It’ll take ages to clear and the car will feel damp and miserable for your next drive or so. Even leaving them in the boot will make the windows wet and foggy, so get them indoors where they can dry out properly.

Snow sense

For most people driving in the snow can be daunting. The following tips should help you on your way. First, remove any snow from the top of your car as breaking sharply could cause snow to fall on to the windscreen and hamper your vision. Try to set off in as high a gear as possible (second or third usually), this will reduce the risk of your wheels spinning and give you more grip to the road surface, but don’t use too much acceleration as this will also cause your wheels to spin.

You may need to leave as much as 10 times the normal recommended gap between you and the car in front. If you do encounter a skid, come off the accelerator immediately and steer gently into it – for example, if the rear of the car is sliding to the right, steer to the right. If you steer away from the skid it can cause your car to spin. Do not take your hands off the steering wheel or stamp your foot on the brakes. Finally, if the road has not been gritted, be wary of driving in the wheel tracks of other vehicles as compressed snow is likely to be icier than fresh snow.