Get prepared this winter
Some tips if you need to drive in sleet, ice and snow.
Winter can induce trepidation into even the most experienced of drivers who need to contend with rain, sleet, ice, snow and only eight hours of gloomy daylight.
The Highway Code offers the following advice:
• When roads are icy, drive extremely carefully and avoid sudden actions as these could cause you to lose control.
• Drive slowly in the highest gear possible; accelerate and brake very gently.
• Slow down more than usual on bends where loss of control is more likely. Brake progressively on the straight before you reach a bend and steer smoothly around it, avoiding sudden actions.
• When there is snow or ice check the car's grip on the road surface by choosing a safe place to brake gently. If the steering feels unresponsive it could indicate that the vehicle is losing its grip on the road.
check the car's grip on the road surface
• Check the local weather forecast for warnings of icy or snowy weather. Unless your journey is essential do not drive in these conditions. If it is, take great care and allow more time for your journey. Take note of message signs that may provide information about weather, road and traffic conditions ahead.
• Keep well back from the road user in front of you as stopping distances can be 10 times greater on wet surfaces than on dry roads.
• Watch out for snowploughs which may throw out snow on either side. Do not overtake them unless the lane you intend to use has already been cleared.
• Be prepared for the road conditions to change quickly over relatively short distances.
In addition to the Highway Code advice, make sure you and your vehicle are prepared for winter driving. Ensure your car insurance and breakdown cover are up-to-date and that you have an emergency kit including: de-icer and ice scraper; torch; warm clothing; boots; first aid kit; jump leads, a shovel and food and water in case you get stuck or your vehicle breaks down.
By preparing now, you may have less reason to worry about driving in the bleak, mid winter. You never know, you might even become a better, safer driver come spring!
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