Winter motoring requires special care and a little preparation if you are to avoid a breakdown or accident. The best advice for driving in bad winter weather is not to drive at all, if you can avoid it.
Do not go out until the snow ploughs and gritting vehicles have had a chance to do their work and allow yourself extra time to reach your destination. If you must drive in snowy conditions, make sure your car is well prepared and that you know how to handle your car in dangerous road conditions.
It is helpful to practise winter driving techniques in a snowy, open car park, so you are familiar with how your car handles. Consult your owner’s manual for tips specific to driving your vehicle in slippery conditions.
Make sure you listen out for weather warnings and be prepared to change or delay your journey depending on advice being given.
It is recommended that you always check your route before you set out. Check the real-time traffic information provided for your routes.
Below are some helpful pointers surrounding driving in these types of weather conditions:
• Decrease your speed and leave yourself plenty of room to stop. You should allow at least three times more space than usual between you and the car in front of you;
• If your tyres are making virtually no noise this could be a sign that you are driving on ice;
• Brake gently to avoid skidding. If your wheels start to lock up, ease off the brake;
• Turn on your lights to increase your visibility to other motorists;
• Keep your lights and windscreen clean;
• Using low gears will help you keep traction, especially on hills. Higher gears can be used for better overall control;
• Do not use cruise control on icy roads;
• Be especially careful on bridges and infrequently travelled roads, on which ice will form first. Even at temperatures above freezing, if the conditions are wet, you might encounter ice in shady areas or on exposed roadways like bridges;
• Do not overtake snow ploughs and gritting vehicles. The drivers have limited visibility, and you are likely to find the road in front of them worse than the road behind;
• Do not assume your vehicle can handle all conditions. Even four-wheel and front-wheel drive vehicles can encounter trouble on winter roads;
• Clear any snow off the roof of the vehicle before you drive off. It can slip down over the windscreen and obscure your view or blow onto the vehicle behind you;
• The action of Anti-lock Braking Systems (ABS) is felt as a vibration of the brake pedal. If you recognise that, it can give you early warning of slippery conditions;
• If your vehicle skids depress the clutch and turn the steering wheel into the direction of the skid. When the vehicle straightens, steer along the road. Do not brake – it will just lock up your wheels and you will skid further.
As with a lot of companies, driving can form an integral part of a lot of businesses, but you should never put work deliveries etc. above your own safety, especially when driving in wintery conditions such as snow and ice.