Driving Safely In The Snow

07 January 2022 Blog

Adverse weather conditions can make even the best of drivers a little anxious.

Although we don’t see a huge amount of snow here in the UK, we do still see enough for us to prepare ourselves for it better and identify how to drive in those kinds of conditions confidently.

Preparation is key when it comes to driving in snow. Leaving the house late and trying to make up time on your journey will only end in disaster.


Before You Set Out In The Snow

Always plan your journey and leave plenty of time for you to get to where you need to go. I think we have all been guilty of rushing out the door because you are running late and realising you still need to clear your windscreen!

Before setting off on your journey, it is important to check the following…

  • Tyres – Poor tread will cause traction issues when pulling off but also grip issues when steering and braking. Even one tyre with poor tread will increase your chances of an accident. Swapping to winter tyres can be a good way to improve your vehicles performance in adverse conditions.
  • Wipers – People quite often assume that by this you mean just checking the quality of your wiper blades. This does need to be done; however, it is also important to make sure your auto wiper control is switched off before you turn on the ignition. If the wipers are frozen to the windscreen, you could blow the wiper control fuse which will stop you from being able to use your wipers at all.
  • Screen wash – Checking your screen wash level is self-explanatory but it is also worth checking what type of screen wash you have. The best winter screen wash will include some form of anti-freeze, which will prevent the water from freezing over if the temperature ever drops to extremely low temperatures. The last thing you need in extreme snow fall is no screen wash, especially with all the salt and grit that will come up off the road onto your windscreen.
  • Be prepared for the worst – It may seem a little negative and pessimistic to some, but you need to be prepared for a worst-case scenario. If you break down, do you have everything you are going to need to help you? Emergency kits can be purchased that include everything you will need for that worst case scenario. These can include a torch, hi-vis vest, blanket, shovel, de-icer, ice scraper, screen wash, phone charger, first aid kit, warning triangle and some even contain jump leads.


Advice For Driving In The Snow

Now that you are prepared for your journey comes the tricky bit - driving in the snow itself.

Here is our step-by-step guide with tips to improve your driving in snowy conditions.

  • Wear dry footwear – the last thing you want is your foot to slip off one of the pedals whilst driving.
  • Keep your revs low – accelerate slowly and keep your revs nice and low to ensure your car can get traction.
  • Pull off in second gear- you may find this easier if you drive a diesel vehicle as you would be less likely to stall but this can still be done in a petrol vehicle. Some cars are even fitted with winter mode these days which will choose an appropriate setting for you!
  • Always leave plenty of room – it is important to expect the unexpected. Your car will take longer to stop so you need to make sure plenty room is left between you and the car in front.
  • Try and maintain a constant speed – sharp increases and decreases in speed will only increase your chances of losing control of the vehicle. A consistent steady speed will help you remain in complete control of your vehicle.
  • Use low gears when going downhill – this will mean you will need to use your brake less and when you do need to, it won’t be any sharp sudden braking.
  • Don’t brake on a bend – ease off your accelerator as you approach the bend and apply gentle braking if needed. Then you will be at an appropriate steady consistent speed while taking the corner.
  • Don’t panic if you skid – if you panic, you are likely to brake and brake quite harshly, which will only make you skid even worse. Try and steer gently back into the skid, so if you are skidding left, gently turn the steering wheel to the left and this will help straighten out the car and help you regain control.
  • Be wary of wheel tracks – if the roads have not been gritted, wheel tracks can leave compressed snow, which can be even more icy then fresh snow.
  • Be aware of your surroundings & the environment you are driving in – if a particular road appears to be quite sheltered, there is a good chance it doesn’t get much sunlight. With no sunlight, the snow takes longer to melt and black ice will take longer to thaw out. Use common sense, be aware and take your time.


Is Your Car Ready For Winter?

Making sure your car is ready for the adverse and harsher winter weather conditions can easily be forgotten during and after the busy holiday season. Read how you can get your car ready for winter and how to perform a winter car check at home