As Leasing Options is based in Manchester we are of course blessed with all year round sunshine. However, for those of you that are not so lucky, winter can often mean hazardous driving conditions. The UK rarely experiences the very most severe weather, but that arguably makes people more susceptible when snow and ice does affect our roads. Luckily there are a number of ways we can prepare before using vehicles in the snow, as well as some ways to drive more safely too, here are our top tips for driving in the snow:
Clear it off
First things first, if your vehicle has a covering of snow, be sure to clear all of it off before driving, and not just enough to see through the windscreen! Any excess snow or ice can become mobile when you set off and could fall down obstructing your view or even hit another vehicle.
Plan your trip
Consider if any sections of the route could be difficult to navigate in the prevailing conditions and avoid smaller less travelled roads where possible, larger roads tend to be more likely to be gritted and so will be easier to traverse.
It's probably an obvious one with lower temperatures but make sure you're fully topped up over winter, use a 50/50 mix with water during colder months.
It goes without saying you should make sure the tread on your tyres is within legal limits, but during winter you should aim for at least 3mm. If you live in an area that consistently gets heavy snowfall it could be worth investing in winter tyres or snow chains, they will pay for themselves if they help you avoid an accident.
Carry your kit
Cold weather can make your battery more likely to fail, especially if you drive an older vehicle, so it’s a good idea to keep jumper cables in your boot should you break down. Other useful items to consider packing packing are a torch, blanket, first aid kit and warning triangle.
If you're going on a long journey, or one where there's a chance you could get delayed, be sure to pack yourself some food and drink in case you get stuck.
Although you should never use your phone when driving, a charged mobile with the number of your breakdown service is probably the most important bit of kit to take with you on a journey.
You should always make sure to have plenty of fuel in case you get delayed, but in poor driving conditions this becomes even more important - try aiming to have a quarter of a tank extra just in case.
Once on the road
- Accelerate slowly, and try and get up in to the higher gears as soon as you can, this should help to avoid any wheelspin
- If visibility is poor be sure to have your dipped headlights on, this will help you see and be seen more easily and also mean that your rear lights will be lit.
- Should visibility drop below 100m remember to use your fog lights until conditions improve.
- When climbing a hill leave yourself enough space so that you can keep a constant speed all the way to the top.
- When descending you should again leave yourself plenty of space, use a lower gear and try to avoid braking too much.
- Extend your stopping distance if traction is poor, try to leave up to ten times the usual amount between you and the car in front.
- Brake in plenty of time when approaching a corner, you should reduce your speed before you start to turn the steering wheel.
- Drive more slowly, make sure you set off in plenty of time to complete journey without needing to rush
- If your vehicle does skid then steer gently in to it, don't take your hands off the wheel or brake too hard.