Driving in the snow can be treacherous very easily leading to an accident. To help you in the snow read our top 5 winter weather driving tips below.
1. Consider is your trip worth it?
The best way to stay safe in this weather is to stay off the roads and be at home. Honestly ask yourself if you need to drive and if it would be possible to walk or even not to do the journey. It may be better not to do the journey than to have an accident.
2. Check your car is fit for the journey
Make sure you clear all the snow from the roof of your car, bonnet and lights as falling snow could cause issues for following traffic or if you are made to brake heavily it could fall down your windscreen and block your view. Make sure all your lights and number plates are visible as are any rear reflectors. As with your weekly checks, check your fluid levels are correct and that you have a full tank of fuel. If the weather suddenly gets worse you don’t want to run the risk of running out of fuel while sat in long traffic delays.
Check your tyres are in good condition, correctly inflated and with plenty of tread as these are the one thing stopping you from sliding. If you can justify it fit winter tyres as these are better when it turns cold and can make all the difference in these conditions.
3. Plan your route
When planning your route try to assess the road conditions ahead. Stick to main roads where possible as these are generally clearer and easier to drive on than side roads as they have more cars driving on them. Plan more than one route so that if a road is blocked you can get round the blockage easily.
Use the Traffic England, Traffic Scotland and Traffic Wales websites to find out about delays on major routes and you can use apps like Waze, the world's largest community-based traffic and navigation app to get up to date traffic data on your route and an accurate estimated arrival time. In my experience Waze can come up with some ‘interesting’ routes but they work in the long run at avoiding the worst of the traffic and can be better than those provided by Google Maps or Apple Maps.
4. Drive to the conditions
Accelerate and brake slowly, leave plenty of room all round your car this is like your safety bubble. Giving you confidence that other drivers are not too close to you. Most accidents caused in the snow are from people driving too fast, too close and losing control of their car. Once you have started to slide it can be very difficult to regain control.
Try to maintain momentum but drive at an appropriate speed, remember that low speed incidents hurt less than high speed ones. Remember that you need to be aware of how the vehicles around you are being driven, make allowances for any bad driving you see as this can keep you safe and not pressured.
5. Keep calm
As I said earlier driving in ice and snow can be treacherous. Drive in a relaxed manner and your car ride will be smoother and calmer. Drive in a tense manner and your car is more likely to lose grip and slide because of the tense use of controls. This is when you are likely to get involved in an accident or have a bad experience. Relax, keep breathing (it always helps and makes things better) and if you are nervous about driving and really have to consider taking 10 minutes out before hand to relax in a quiet place or even meditate (the Headspace or Calm apps are awesome for guided meditation if it’s your first time) before driving to increase your chances of having a calm and smooth journey.
If you are driving in the snow during the bad weather I hope you have a safe journey and get to enjoy the snow while it lasts.