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Safe winter driving in snow and ice. 29/12/14

If you have to drive your car in snowy or icy weather it is important to adjust the way you drive and also ensure your vehicle is properly prepared for these conditions.

Prepare your vehicle

If the weather is very bad, postpone your journey.

If you must drive in wintry conditions, here are a few tips for preparing your vehicle before the journey.

  • Carry extra fuel in a safety can, windscreen de-icer, scraper and water with anti-freeze for the radiator

  • Take blankets, warm clothing, food and drinking water

  • Keep a shovel, a torch with fresh batteries and high visibility jackets in your boot

  • Ensure you have a mobile phone and that it is fully charged

  • Let someone know of your travel plans

  • Check weather and traffic reports before you travel

  • Thoroughly clear your vehicle of snow and demist your windscreen before setting off

When you are driving

Use the following techniques when driving in icy and snow.

  • Pull away slowly in a low gear to avoid losing grip

  • Keep plenty of distance between you and the vehicle in front to allow extra stopping distance in an emergency

  • If you skid, try to steer your way out of it. Do not use the accelerator and use gentle braking where possible

  • Apply acceleration and braking gently at all times, rapid acceleration may cause wheel spin

  • Use dipped headlights in falling snow

  • Drive in the tracks of previous vehicles or on the clearest parts of the road if possible

  • Do not rely on your ABS system to get you out of trouble

  • Stick to main roads, as they are more likely to have been gritted properly

  • Do not take corners at speed in case you lose control of the rear of your vehicle

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