It is usually advisable to not go out in your car when it is snowing or has snowed, but there are times when that is not possible. So if you have to drive here are some great pointers to help keep you safe.
If you are leaving your vehicle make sure the handbrake is on, so if the snow does clear up or loosen while you are away your car doesn't move.
Plan your journey by allowing extra time to complete your trip and by sticking to major roads, which are more likely to be cleared and gritted. Also, check fuel levels, keep at least a quarter of a tank in case of unexpected delays. Wear and also bring warm clothing with you and equip your vehicle with a blanket just in case your car gets stuck in the snow and you get cold. It is also advisable to take food and water with you, if you are stuck you might be in your car for a while. Make sure your phone is fully charged and if you have one it is always a good idea to bring a shovel.
Clear your car
The first thing you need to do is clear all windows using a scraper and de-icer, ensuring that all snow has been cleared from your roof, as it can either fall or fly onto your windscreen obstructing your view, or fly off your vehicle onto others which can cause accidents.
Don’t use hot water to clear snow or ice as it can crack the glass and will only freeze again on the screen or on the ground which can be dangerous.
Make sure all lights are working, and the lenses are clean. If the roads are filthy, you might have to clean your lights after every trip. Keep number plates clean, to avoid costly fines. If you have to clear snow, don’t forget the lights – front and back. You must use headlights when visibility is severely reduced. If you use fog lights, remember to switch them off when visibility improves, so they don’t dazzle other drivers or obscure your brake lights.
We recommend at least 3mm of tread for the winter. Don't let air out of your tyres to get more grip – it doesn't work, and it’s unsafe.
Only use snow chains if there’s enough snow to prevent damage to the road.
Think about getting winter tyres or all-season tyres – these are made from a special rubber that gives better grip in cold, wet conditions.
Beginning your journey
When beginning your journey and pulling away, put your vehicle in second gear to get going, lifting the clutch gently to avoid wheel spin. Many automatic cars have a snow mode feature for the gearbox.
If your vehicle has an ESP function, you should switch this on as this will also stop you from sliding. Don’t drive too fast Ensure you keep to a slow speed as snow and ice on the road can cause your car to skid and the faster you are going, the higher your chances of crashing are, and this can be dangerous for you, as well as other drivers and pedestrians.
Even when the snow and ice starts to clear up there can still be some patches in covered or sheltered areas that you need to be careful off, so make sure you keep your speeds low until the snow has cleared.
Take it slow
Stopping distances are generally ten times longer in snow and ice, so you need to allow for this when you are driving. You want to be able to break gently and slower than usual due to this, so you need to leave more room between you and the car in front or slow down sooner when approaching a turning or roundabout to ensure no sudden braking as you are likely to skid.
If you slide If you are on the road and your car starts to skid, don’t panic. Firstly take your foot off the acceleration and slow down and if it is a significant skid, steer into it. An excellent way to make sure you are steering the vehicle into the skid, look in the direction you want the car to be going instead and turn that way.
If you get stuck If your vehicle gets stuck in the snow and your wheels are spinning it's suggested that you stop trying to move as this spinning can dig your car deeper into the snow.
If you can, you should use a shovel to clear the snow out of the way or pour a substance such as cat litter or gravel in front of the wheels to help get traction. If you are unable to get your car moving and are away from your home or a place you can get warm, you should keep your engine running if you have a good amount of fuel left to stay warm. If there is any risk of the fumes entering the car, then do not run the engine. If you are unable to run your engine while you wait for help, you should still stay in your car for warmth and so that you don’t get lost or injured in the snow.Text here ...