Much of the UK has already had its first snowfall for this winter. And if the forecast is right, we look set to have more over the next few months. While this is usually something for us all to get pretty excited about, it can make driving tricky. So, what do you need to do to stay safe while driving in the snow?
FiveTips for Staying Safe While Driving in the Snow
1. Be prepared
If you know snow is forecast, do yourself a favour and get ahead of the game. Give yourself extra time for all journeys. Make sure that your car is fully de-iced before you set off. Ensure that your car has enough fluids – including anti-freeze. And pack your car with emergency supplies – this should include a blanket, wellies, water, a snack, a back-up charger for your phone, and ideally a first aid kit. Planning an alternative route can also be useful, just in case your usual road is blocked.
2. Watch your speed
When it’s snowy, the roads can provide a lot less traction. Visibility is also usually reduced. And drivers have less control over their vehicles. This makes for fairly hazardous driving conditions. The slower you go, the more control you will have. And the lower the impact is likely to be, should an accident occur. Obviously, you don’t want to create your own hazard by driving too slowly in faster traffic, but be sensible.
3. Be aware of your brakes
In snowy and icy conditions, braking can be difficult. If you brake too hard, you will potentially lose control. And even if you’re braking gently, your stopping distance will be longer. In fact, in extreme conditions, you may need up to 10 times the usual stopping distance. So, leave plenty of room between you and the car in front, particularly on hills. Apply your brakes gently when you need them. And make sure you gently brake before you start driving into a bend to help ensure maximum traction.
4. Use your lights
When snow is falling heavily, it can seriously impact visibility. Even in the middle of the day. So, put your headlights on. It will help you to see the road more clearly. But, importantly, it will also help other drivers see that you’re there.
5. Be aware of ice
Black ice can be completely invisible to the naked eye. And that makes it really frightening to deal with. And that’s one of the reasons why it’s always a good idea to watch your speed when driving in snow. But if your car begins to skid, it’s important not to panic. If you slam on your breaks and oversteer, you are likely to lose complete control. So, take it slowly. Take your foot off the accelerator. Don’t brake. And steer into the skid. When you feel traction beginning to return, gently brake if it is safe to do so, check your mirrors and blind spots and straighten up your vehicle. If you’re shaken by the experience, find a place to safely pull over and take a few minutes to fully recover.
If you’re still learning to drive, or you’ve just passed your test, driving in snow can be daunting. But if you take precautions, and take it slowly, it’s easy to stay safe in the snow.
Are you looking for driving lessons in the West Midlands area? Get in touch with DGN.