It is an unfortunate fact that with snowy & icy conditions, car accidents become much more likely during winter – the most dangerous time of year to drive. With reduced visibility, slippery roads and increased traffic to contend with – it can be daunting to navigate the roads, particularly for new and inexperienced drivers.
Here are some of the best tips you can do to help stay safe out on the road this winter.
Check your Tyres:
Keep an eye on your tyre tread depth and ensure it stays above the legal 1.6mm minimum. This has to be in a continuous band around the central three quarters of the tyre. In the winter, we would recommend changing tyres sooner at around 3mm tread depth.
Completely de-ice Before you Leave:
Before you start your journey, ensure that you completely clear the windscreen & side windows of ANY ice & snow. Failing to do so could leave huge blind spots and endanger yourself and others around you.
Check your levels:
Keep your car running smoothly by ensuring that your engine oil, engine coolant, brake fluid, power steering fluid & windshield wiper fluids are topped up to their appropriate levels and have been changed at their required intervals.
Pack a Winter bag:
If you travel often in the winter, it is a good idea to keep a small emergency winter bag in the car, just in case you need it! Things like bottled water, phone charger, a torch, warm gloves/hat could be a life saver if you do get into an accident during harsh winter weather.
Check Your Lights:
In the dark winter months, it is crucial to ensure that your car lights are working properly so you can see, and be seen by other vehicles. To check, turn on all of your lights at night and walk around the car inspecting each one to check they are still working correctly.
Over the winter months you may have to traverse roads under ice & snowy conditions each day on your commute. As unpredictable as the British weather is – you may even wake up to a surprising fresh blanket of snow and so learning how to drive safely in snowy weather is incredibly important.
Check your Route for Grit & Delays:
Get familiar with your local council’s gritting routes to ensure that you can stay safe on the roads and plan a secondary route you could take just in case of delays such as accidents.
Get off to the Right Start:
On snowy ground, it can be an issue for vehicles to even get moving. If you have a manual transmission and your wheels are just spinning, try starting in 2nd gear and slowly ease off the clutch whilst gently pressing the accelerator pedal. This sends less torque to the wheels and could help improve traction when moving from a stationary position. Some modern automatics have a snow mode.
Slow & Steady Wins the Race:
With snow & ice on the ground, your stopping distances could be 10x longer than normal conditions! Leaving plenty of space between you and the car in front gives you plenty of time to react to speed changes & stop when you need to. Speed kills, so leave earlier than you would normally and take it slow out there.
Panicking never helps, if your car starts to slide or skid avoid slamming on the brakes or wildly turning the steering wheel as you could easily overcompensate and lose control of the vehicle. Try to keep a slow & consistent speed so you can test the road conditions by gently turning the wheel and easing on the brakes when required.