With the cold winter months in full force, the slippery surfaces can be an absolute nightmare for some drivers. There’s no denying that heavy rain or snow can make it much harder to navigate the road, yet some drivers are forced to go out in difficult conditions due to work or other commitments.
The team behind car repairs repayment platform www.bumper.co.uk have outlined five of their most practical tips to make sure that you can stay safe when driving in ice and snow.
Leave the house as prepared as possible
If you know you might face more risky conditions on the road, you can do most of your preparation before leaving the house. The most important step is to ensure that your windscreen wiper blades, both front and rear, are functioning and operational. As there may be salt on icy roads, be sure to check your screenwash levels too. You should also check how much fuel you have, as driving at a slower speed, as you might do in the ice or snow, increases fuel consumption. Lastly, use a 20p coin to check that your tyres are of the legal tyre tread depth, as a lack of grip is the absolute last thing you want while driving in frostier conditions.
Slow down, but not to a dangerously low speed
Everyone knows to reduce your speed and leave more space between yourself and the car in front when it’s icy or snowing outside, but driving too slow can also be very dangerous on slippery roads as well. Icy roads can give drivers less time to react and brake, so driving extremely slowly could increase the risk of collision. As a rule of thumb, aim to leave about twice as much space – four chevrons apart on the motorway, for instance.
Know what to do if you skid on ice
When losing control of the car, it’s a natural response to immediately brake or overcorrect the steering. However, it might be one of the worst things you can do. In order to regain grip, ease your foot off of the accelerator. Braking is ineffective because your tyre has already lost contact with the road, and suddenly moving your steering could cause you to spin out of control even more.
Stay on top of your visibility at all times
You might want to put on an extra layer or two when getting dressed, as the best way to prevent mist on your windows is to switch on your air conditioning. Additionally, use your headlights when necessary and be aware of any large vehicles such as buses and lorries, as they will create large amounts of spray - particularly if there is salt on the road.
If you break down, keep your bonnet closed
While you might want to investigate the issue yourself, opening up your engine in heavy snow can cause significant damage to your electrical system. Instead, wait for assistance to arrive and allow them to judge the situation. With any luck, the snow will have calmed down by then.
James Jackson, CEO of www.bumper.co.uk, commented:“While driving in ice and snow can increase the chances of potential danger, it shouldn’t force anyone to totally rule out driving. When on the road, we have a duty to ensure the safety of everyone around us – not just ourselves. The importance of car safety really can’t be understated and it’s good to remind ourselves of the proper practices when driving in winter weather.”