With wintery conditions forecast across the UK this week, the experts at Bill Plant Driving School have five tips to help motorists drive safely in snow.
1 – Check your windscreen wipers
Visibility is key in wintery conditions and you should make sure to double check your wipers are in working order before setting off on any journeys. You should check for wear and tear in the rubber, as well as if the wipers leave smears and dirt, when deciding on replacing the blades.
2 – Avoid harsh acceleration
Control is critical when it comes to driving in the snow and every manoeuvre should be completed slowly and with care. Be gentle on the throttle and set off smoothly using low revs, as any harsh acceleration could cause wheel spin. If you are slowing down then constantly be ready to gently brake as you go down through the gears, as this will help alert road users behind you of your indication with the brake lights.
3 – Drive in a high gear
Pulling off in second gear is advised, whilst easing off the clutch gently to avoid wheel spin. Once in motion, it is wise to drive in as higher gear as possible, and this is because you will be keeping your revs lower and in turn reduce your wheel spin. Once in the correct gear, changing gear should be avoided unless absolutely necessary.
4 – Consider your stopping distance
Stopping distances usually double in wet conditions, but in snow and ice you should be looking to leave a gap which is up to 10 times longer. Gear changing and braking should be avoided where possible, especially on hills where you should wait till the traffic is clear before keeping a constant speed up or down and steer or brake very gently.
5 – Use your headlights
With shorter days in the winter months, side lights or full headlights are commonly in use most of the time. You must use headlights when visibility is seriously reduced, normally when you can’t see further than 100 metres. Fog can also cause problems and front or rear fog lights can be used when there is little visibility.