Road conditions in winter can be very challenging to drive in, with breakdowns and accidents occurring more frequently at this time of the year. Even the most accomplished of drivers can have a slip on the ice, caused by these tricky winter road conditions. So, here’s our guide for staying safe when driving on snowy and icy roads.
Visibility Is Key
In winter, it is more than likely that you’ll be driving in the dark, as nights are longer and colder. Plus, you’ll probably have sleet and snow to contend with too. So, allow extra time for your journey, as all of UK roads can be affected by adverse weather. Scotland and the North and West of England are particularly prone to dangerous conditions in winter. So, expert instructors from driving schools in Birmingham suggest that you should complete several checks of your car before you travel to make sure that you’re driving safely and that your vehicle is as visible as possible:
- Use a scraper to clear your windscreen of ice before you set off.
- Make sure your windows are clear of condensation inside the car – use the air con to de-mist the windscreen before and during your drive.
- Clear the roof of snow to avoid any falling onto your windscreen when you’re driving.
- Make sure your lights at the front and back of the car are clear of any snow, ice or dirt, and that they are working fully.
- Top up your screen wash and make sure it includes a suitable winter additive of anti-freeze to reduce the chance of freezing.
- Check your wiper blades for wear and tear, and replace if damaged.
- Make sure your tyres have good tread, are in good condition and inflated to the correct pressure.
Don’t forget you must use your headlights when there is reduced visibility or when it’s dark, and use fog lights when it is suitable. When visibility improves, you can then turn them off to make sure not to dazzle other drivers.
Create an In-Car Survival Kit for Winter on The Roads
Winter conditions can cause any car to breakdown, so it’s best to be prepared just in case this happens. The government guidelines for motorists in winter suggests a list of items you should always keep in your car, which also come in handy if you experience long delays in snowy or icy weather. The emergency/survival kit in your car should include:
- Ice Scarper
As mentioned previously, the windscreen can be iced overnight or when you come back to your parked car. It’s vital that you have a good ice scraper to hand that can clear the window properly. You can also invest in de-icer, which comes in the form of a spray and helps to lower the freezing point and stop the ice from re-freezing.
Shorter days in winter means you’ll likely to be getting in and out of your car in the dark, so a torch can help you see what you are doing. If you happen to breakdown in the dark, a torch will help when exiting your car and guide you to a safe space where you can wait for assistance.
If you experience a breakdown, waiting for a recovery vehicle or mechanic in winter weather can be rather cold. If you have a blanket in your emergency kit, then you can keep yourself warm whilst your wait in a safe area
You may think this more of an essential for summer weather, but the low winter sun, as well as the reflection of sunlight off any snow, can dazzle you when driving. Keeping sunglasses in your car can make sure that you are not fully affected by this.
- Empty fuel can
Many breakdowns are caused by running out of fuel. You should check your fuel levels before you drive, but also carry an empty fuel can in your car, so that if need be, you can walk to a nearby petrol station – if it is safe to do so – and not be waiting around in the cold winter weather.