Big Motoring World’s Guide to Safe Driving in the Snow

With the Beast from the East causing some quite difficult weather, we thought we would put together a guide of our top tips for driving in the snow.

Safe driving starts well before you get into your car. When you know there is likely to be snow, we recommend planning your journey carefully, having an alternative route ready if needed is always handy. Check traffic and any road closures before you set off. Consider avoiding areas prone to flooding, and try to stick to motorways and main roads.  

Always leave much more time than you normally would. Did you know you could be breaking the law if you drive with snow on your car?  You will need extra time to clear windows, mirrors, lights and the roof of your car.

Check your wipers, tyres and screen wash regularly. We cannot emphasise tyres enough. Your tyres may not grip properly when driving on snow and ice if there is not adequate tread.

Always be prepared for the worst. In the event of a winter breakdown, you do not want to be left without the following items:

  • Torch (wind-up, or carry spare batteries)
  • Hi-vis vest
  • A blanket
  • Spare socks
  • Wellie boots
  • Some food
  • A drink
  • Spare screen wash
  • De-icer
  • Ice scraper
  • Map
  • A first aid kit
  • A warning triangle
  • Jump leads
  • A square of carpet. (this can be useful to put under your wheels if you get stuck in the snow)
  • A phone charger – picture being stranded at the side of the road unable to call for recovery!

Now onto the actual driving. Accelerate slowly. Use low revs and change to a higher gear as quickly as possible. Move off in second gear. Maintain a safe stopping distance, always. Take the normal recommended gap and times it by 10. Make the gap even bigger if you need to go up hill, you will want to avoid changing speed. Use a low gear for going downhill.

When coming up to a bend, brake before turning. If your car does lose grip, don’t panic. Take your foot off the accelerator and point your wheels to the direction you want to go.

If you do skid, steer into it. If the rear of the car is sliding to the left, steer to the left.

Try to avoid driving in the tracks of other cars; driving on compressed snow can be more slippery than fresh snow.

Operate all controls slowly and smoothly.

If conditions are that bad, you may want to consider snow socks or snow chains.

Big Motoring World’s top 5 tips:

  • Plan ahead, allow plenty of time
  • Be prepared for the worst
  • Accelerate slowly, using low revs and a high gear
  • Do not panic, steer into a skid
  • Leave plenty of room!

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