With much of the UK facing cold, icy and snowy conditions this weekend, it’s a good time to remind ourselves how to stay safe on the roads.
Of course, where possible it is always best to avoid undertaking a journey in adverse weather condition however this isn’t always a practical option. If you really must make a journey in snow or ice here are some tips on how to drive safely and avoid an accident or injury.
Keep your speed down – lowering your speed gives you much greater control of your vehicle and it also provides you with a greater reaction time. You should always bear in mind that the speed limits that are correct in normal driving conditions may be far too high in poor weather conditions.
Keep much bigger gaps to the vehicle in front – during adverse weather conditions your stopping distance will be significantly reduced so it is always worth sitting back and leaving an extra bit of space between you and the car in front.
Avoid excessive steering inputs and heavy braking – sharp or sudden movements are more likely to cause you to lose control of your vehicle and once you have lost control it is not always possible to regain it before a collision occurs. Be particularly aware of braking on corners, as black ice could easily cause your vehicle to spin and skid out of control
Road surfaces may vary massively even during a short journey - you will often see compacted snow or icy in more residential or remote areas and then slushier surface conditions on busier roads. Changes in road surface affect your vehicle’s grip, stability and braking distance, so be mindful of changes and adapt your driving accordingly.
If you are stuck in snow, don’t rev the engine to try and power your way out - instead, use forward and reverse gears to try and gently rock your vehicle free. Always use the highest gear possible whilst doing this to reduce wheel spin.
Stay cool – whilst it’s very tempting to turn the heater right up on a cold day, excessive heat can cause drowsiness and subsequent affect your concentration. Keep your car well ventilated to ensure you are alert at all times.
Pack some essentials – it’s always handy to carry some warm clothing, wellies, a bottle of water and a few snacks in the boot of the car just in case you get stuck in a traffic jam or need to abandon your car.
Nelson Myatt Solicitors