How to drive safely in snow and ice: essential dos and don’ts in winter weather

How to drive safely in snow and ice: essential dos and don’ts in winter weather
How to drive safely in snow and ice: essential dos and don’ts in winter weather

With forecasts for many parts of the country to suffer more snowy and icy conditions the roads are likely to be treacherous for many drivers.

Avoiding driving if possible is often the best advice in such conditions but for many people that’s not an option.

With that in mind here are a few things you should and shouldn’t do to ensure you stay safe on the roads.

Do

Check your car

A few simple checks will ensure your car is in top condition in the worst weather.

Ensure all your lights, including fog lights, are working Check your tyre pressures and tread depth – the legal minimum is 1.6mm but at least 3mm is recommended at this time of year Top up your fluids, especially anti-freeze and screenwash, and check your wiper blades are in good condition Make sure your number plate and lights are clean and visible. Failing to do so is illegal

Simple checks can avoid winter breakdowns. Picture: Shutterstock

Pack a bag

It pays to be prepared for the worst so make sure you have a bag with essentials, in case you get stuck. Among the vitals are a torch, high-vis jacket or vest, sturdy footwear, shovel, a blanket or extra clothes, warning triangle, ice scraper, phone charger and food and drink.

Drive carefully

Stopping distances are up to 10 times greater in snow and ice so leave a bigger gap to the car in front Drive smoothly. Harsh acceleration, braking and steering makes you more likely to lose grip and skip Keep your speed down. This will give you more time to react to any problems Be observant. Look ahead for hazards such as puddles or patches of ice and be prepared to adjust your driving

Read more: Expert advice on how to cope with a skid

You need to slow down and leave more space when driving in snow and ice. Picture: Shutterstock

Plan head

Keep an eye on what the weather is predicted to do so you can plan your journey. Leave yourself more time to get to your destination and be prepared for delays and accidents that could hold you up.

Don’t

Travel if you don’t have to

The best way to stay safe is to stay off the road.

Use boiling water to clear your windscreen

Startlingly, some people still think this is a good idea. The boiling water hitting frozen glass can be enough to crack or shatter the windscreen so just don’t do it. Use de-icer, a scraper and some old-fashioned elbow grease.

Use minor routes if you don’t have to

Major roads are the ones most regularly cleared while smaller routes may not be treated at all, making them more treacherous. If you have an accident you’re also less likely to be discovered quickly.

Only clear part of your car

Failing to properly clear all the snow and ice from your car, including windows and roof, is massively dangerous and illegal. Not being able to see properly could land you with a £60 fine and three penalty points.

Failing to properly clear your car is dangerous and can see you fined. Picture: Shutterstock

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