Winter Driving | Prestige Cars Kent

Driving on Winter Roads

Snowy conditions can make driving a real challenge for motorists and can even lead to an accident.

With this in mind it is crucial to prepare yourself adequately before embarking on a journey in the snow.

The following tips can help make the journey safer.

Before you set off, plan your journey carefully. Consider areas that are going to be exposed to the elements, and perhaps prone to flooding.

Leave more time

Allow for more time than you normally would before you leave to clear car windows, mirrors, lights and the top of your roof of snow before setting off.

You will also need to de-ice your windscreen and you will need to take time to clear the inside of your windscreen too as it is illegal to drive without full visibility through all of your windows.

It’s also a good idea to carry a lock de-icer with you to clear your lock. If your locks do get frozen, try warming the key or spraying de-icer or an oil-based lubricant into the lock.

The following checks will also be time consuming so it is worth factoring them in too before you set off.

Check your wipers

Make sure any auto wiper control is switched off before turning the ignition on as this could blow the wiper control fuse if they are frozen to the screen. Your wipers need to be in good working order so you’re able to clean your windscreen effectively.

Check your tyres

Poor tyres will not grip when driving on snow and ice.

Check your screen wash

Use a good quality screen wash that protects down to at least -35 to prevent the water from freezing.

The most important thing to take with you before driving in snow is a charged mobile phone.

How to drive in snow

  1. Wear comfortable and dry footwear
  2. Accelerate gently, use low revs and change up to a higher gear as quickly as possible.
  3. Move off in second gear as this will help reduce wheel slip - some cars have a winter mode, which does the same job – so to check whether your car has this function in the vehicle’s handbook
  4. Get your speed right and maintain safe stopping distances between you and the car in front, leaving as much as 10 times the normal recommended gap
  5. Prepare for an uphill by leaving plenty of room in front so you can maintain a constant speed without the need for changing gear
  6. Use a low gear for going downhill and try to avoid braking unless necessary, make sure you leave plenty of space between you and the car in front
  7. When approaching a bend, brake before you actually start to turn the steering wheel. If your car does lose grip try not to panic; the key thing is to take your foot off the accelerator and make sure that your wheels are pointing in the direction you want to go in
  8. If you do encounter a skid, steer gently into it - for example, if the rear of the car is sliding to the right, steer to the right. Do not take your hands off the steering wheel or stamp your foot on the brakes
  9. When driving in heavy snow, make sure that you use your dipped headlights. Relying on daytime running lights is not enough, because they don’t always put lights on the back of your car.
  10. If visibility drops below a 100m, put your fog lights on. But remember to turn them off when the visibility improves.
  11. If the road has not been gritted, be wary of driving in the wheel tracks or other vehicles as compressed snow is likely to be more icy than fresh snow
  12. Controls such as the brakes, as well as the steering, accelerator and even gear changing should be operated smoothly and slowly
  13. Sunglasses can help to reduce the glare of low winter sun on the snow
  14. Keep your speed down and allow more time to stop and steer
  15. Finally, it’s important to think about the environment that you’re driving in, especially microclimates that might appear on the road. These are areas that perhaps the sun hasn’t got to, which could stay icy when the rest of the road has thawed. Bridges are a good example. They’re normally the first to freeze and the last to thaw. So be aware of that when you’re driving in open spaces.



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