These are my top 10 tips for driving in the Snow or Ice. Some of this may overlap with my previous blog about driving in the winter. So lets get to it and start with the most important tip of all. Or possibly the second most important tip. Is your journey essential?
It possible goes without saying but any journey you make should be essential. All drivers should have an idea of what the weather is going to be like for the journey. Afterall you would not go out with an umbrella if you knew it was going to rain. Equally why drive if you know its going to snow. You could have the best car in the world, with all the bells and whistles, but if other drivers don't have these features you will still get stranded. So ask yourself can that trip be avoided!
Are you prepared? The vehicle maybe fit, but are we prepared for the drive that may involve our 100% concentration. I'm not suggesting you should be driving when you don't feel 100% rather than the snow and ice will take so much more of your concentration it will be like a phone battery leaving the torch on in the background and start draining much quicker. So make sure you are feeling at the top of your game.
What should you carry?
The Driving Essential Skills lists items that maybe considered necessary. Personally unless the journey is really extreme I would stick with some household items that most of us probably carry in our vehicles all year round.
First Aid Kit
Hot Water (Soup Sachets)
Phone Power Pack
You essentially need to be prepared for a period of time sitting in your vehicle. If the weather is that extreme you should have been staying at home.
Getting the vehicle ready! Check your fluids. You can purchase screen wash that is effective at -10o now. Make sure you have a full tank of fuel or charge. Check your tyre pressures. Use winter tyres or snow chains. Clear all the snow from the whole vehicle including the roof. Moving off
When moving off try to use the highest gear as possible. You may need to move backwards before you can go forwards again. In some cases use a shovel to clear the snow.
Make sure you can be seen
When falling snow reduces visibility use your dipped headlights as you would in heavy rain or fog. Be prepared to clear the windows by hand. Frozen wipers are easily damaged. Screen wash may freeze. Check your brakes just to make sure they have not frozen.
Drive like your holding a baby
I often use this expression. You need to be firm but gentle. Use every control delicately.
Cars moving in a straight line are safest. If you over steer, brake or accelerate this is when you can have problems. Treat your vehicle like a bubble. Increase the distance between you and the vehicles around you. You need to drive in a manner that controls the vehicles around you as much as you control your own vehicle.
One of the biggest problems I see with drivers is that when the conditions are almost perfect for driving they make too many errors of judgment. You only have to look on motorways to see how close drivers are to other vehicles. You cannot get away with that in the snow, and the problem is you cannot just switch on a safe drive.