FOG, ice and snow “are the enemies of drivers” warns the RAC.
As snow piles up around the UK, these helpful tips prepare you for challenging travelling conditions in winter.
How should you prepare for safe driving in snow?
Before heading off in the snow, plan your journey carefully and keep up-to-date with local weather reports.
- Allow more time than you usually would and ensure all the snow is clear from your vehicle.
- It is actually against the law to drive with snow on your car.
- Carry a lock de-icer with you to clear your locks.
- Make sure any auto wiper control is switched off before turning the ignition on.
- If they are frozen to the screen the control fuse will blow.
- Check your tyres for adequate tread so the grip is sufficient. If conditions are very bad you may want to consider using snow socks or chains.
- Use a good screenwash that protects down to at least -35C to prevent the water from freezing.
Being gentler on the throttle and brakes, and slowing down particularly on rural or ungritted routes can help ensure a safe and trouble-free journey, advises the RAC.
How can you drive safely in snow and ice?
“Windscreens should be completely cleared of ice and snow before moving off so visibility isn’t impaired.
“Drivers who start out peering through a misted up or poorly cleared windscreen are putting lives at risk,” says RAC patrol of the year Ben Aldous.
Accelerate gently, use low revs and change up to a higher gear as quickly as possible.
Move off in second gear to reduce wheel slip.
When approaching a bend, brake before you start turning and if the car loses grip don’t panic and keep the wheels turned in the direction you want to go in.
If visibility drops below 100m, put your fog lights on. But remember to turn them off when the visibility improves.
If the road has not been gritted, be wary of driving in the wheeltracks or other vehicles as compressed snow is likely to be more icy than fresh snow.
How do you demist your windscreen?
Start the heater off cold and then slowly increase the temperature, this will stop the car becoming full of hot “wet” air.
Make use of the air-con if you have the feature as this will prevent condensation.
Similarly with a clever climate control system, these features will automatically adjust to achieve the best results.
If you do not have air-con or climate control leave your windows slightly open to clear the windscreen faster.
Never drive away until your windscreen is clear.
Snow forecast: Where will it snow in the UK today?
How should you prepare for driving in floods?
Driving in flash floods risks damaging your car, perhaps permanently. Even a relatively small amount of water can do significant damage to your engine.
Approximately 10,000 cars a year are rescued by the AA after either driving through or getting stuck in flood water.
One of the first things drivers should do if they know their car is at risk of flood water is move it to higher ground.
When actually out driving, motorists are strongly advised to slow down as stopping distances are affected by wet weather.
After driving through a flooded area of road it is critical you test your brakes immediately as they may need to be dried off.