4 Tips for Driving in Snow and Ice
The days may be get longer, but January and February are the months when we can expect the worst ice and snow of the winter. Some of our customers still talk about the Jan 2010 snowfall that brought much of Bedfordshire to a halt for weeks. We’ve escaped fairly lightly since then, but ice – especially black ice – is always a hazard to watch out for at this time of year.
Driving in snow and ice is hazardous and can test the skills of even the most experienced driver. The Country Vehicles team in Shefford all have their own tales to tell of snowdrifts and skidding on country lanes. So, we’ve come up with 4 driving tips to keep you safe in wintry weather.
1. Do You Need to Make the Journey?
It’s always a good idea to ask yourself this question. It could be that you feel you have the skills and experience to handle prevailing conditions, but there will be others on the road who don’t. The less people on the roads in dangerous conditions the better, so if you can put off your journey, err on the side of caution.
2. Preparing for Driving Through the Snow and Ice
If your journey is necessary, the best way to tackle it is to prepare carefully. Assume that conditions can change for the worst, and that your journey will take longer than normal. Don’t put yourself under pressure to arrive at a certain time. A few tips for tackling a snowy journey:
- Take time to clear your car of snow, and check that your windscreen wipers are working properly.
- Clear ice from your windows thoroughly before setting off.
- Use main roads wherever possible as they are likely to have been gritted.
- Check that you’ve got plenty of fuel. If you’re caught in gridlock, you’ll need it.
- Have warm clothes and boots in the car in case you have to trudge through snow.
3. Driving on Settled Snow
Taking it slowly is key to driving on snow that has settled. Avoid any rapid manoeuvres and keep the car in a low gear at all times. You want to allow your tyres maximum grip on a slippery surface, so give time for this to happen. Keep your distance from other cars, especially if you are approaching an incline. There’s no way that you want to be forced to stop on a hill!
4. Driving on Black Ice
Black ice is caused by rain falling on a frozen surface. It’s invisible, so the first many drivers know about black ice is when their car skids on it. If you do hit a patch of black ice, there are 3 things you need to do:
- Avoid the instinct to brake sharply; this will worsen the skid.
- Use your brakes gently to slow the car down and bring it to a stop.
- Stay calm. Take your foot off the accelerator and keep your steering straight. If your car is veering to the left or right, don’t try to right it too quickly. Attempt to right the steering gently.
Use Local Garage Services to Stay Safe
The UK doesn’t experience extreme weather often during our winters, but sleet or freezing temperatures can create poor driving conditions regularly at this time of year. At Country Vehicles we believe in looking out for local drivers and helping everyone to stay safe throughout the winter. If you have any worries about your vehicle, just pop in and ask us to check it out. We’re a friendly bunch; we’ll always offer you a cup of tea!
If you would like to book in a vehicle service or repairs with Country Vehicle in Shefford, call us on 01234 381555, contact us online, or simply call in.