Winter driving: Snow business!

Posted on: 30 November 2010 by Rhian Mainwaring

After the chaos of the recent snow we take a look at how to keep safe on the roads. Prevention rather than cure, that's our motto...

car snowThe Car

  • Make sure your windscreen and windows are fully clear, defrosted and de-misted before you start your journey.
  • Make sure the window washer is topped up and you've checked your tyres and oil level as well as have all the spares you might need.

The Journey

  • Don't travel anywhere in a hurry. The most important thing is safety, so if the conditions get worse, or are bad before you leave consider changing your arrangements. Better to arive a day late than not at all!
  • Keep an eye on the weather forecast, when you set off it might be clear but you never know when the blizzard could hit. 
  • Make sure you have plenty of water as well as food, even if it's just a chocolate bar to maintain energy levels.
  • Take warm clothes, blankets and sensible shoes. If you have to leave your car at least you'll be warm and comfortable  not tottering around in stilettos!

Driving in icy and snowy conditions

  • Belt up! Be extra vigilant and make sure passengers buckle up too.
  • Check your speed! Take it easy particularly on corners and tackle them in as low a gear as possible, steer smoothly and avoid braking.
  • Watch out for black ice! In the early morning be cautious on tree lined streets, the sun wont have had time to melt the ice in the shade.
  • Keep plenty of distance between cars! You never know when you might hit ice.
  • If you don't have anti-lock brakes pump them slowly and gently, they could lock and make you skid.

If you break down

  • Pull off the road as soon as you think there may be a problem with your car. Limping along could make the problem worse and cause further damage.
  • Try to position your vehicle as far over to the left-hand-side of the carriageway or hard shoulder as possible.
  • Anyone getting out of the vehicle should exit by the left-hand-side passenger door.
  • Put your hazard warning lights on. In the dark, or in poor visibility conditions, leave your side-lights on as well.
  • If you break down in darkness or sub-zero temperatures, don't abandon the car. Motorists should stay with their vehicles and call for assistance, thereby ensuring their personal safety and protection.
  • In sub-zero temperatures, keep the engine running to enable the heater to function.
  • While waiting for assistance it is advisable to keep the doors locked, and when help arrives ask for identification, especially if you are on your own.
  • If you're on the motorway and cannot leave it, pull onto the hard shoulder and stop as near to an emergency telephone as possible. SOS telephones are situated every half-mile. Marker posts, positioned every 100 metres, indicate the direction of the nearest telephone.
  • Leave any animals inside the vehicle.
  • Never attempt to complete any repairs yourself unless you know exactly what you're doing.
  • If possible, call your recovery service, using a roadside emergency SOS telephone rather than a mobile phone. This will enable them to pinpoint your exact location and will also alert the police to your position.

Safe driving 50connectors, most importantly assess the situation before you leave, and if your journey starts to turn ugly, turn back!

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