Winter driving advice

06 January 2010 #SMMT News

During the current adverse weather conditions SMMT is offering motorists advice on how best to travel safely.

Preparation is key:

  • Ensure you have enough time to prepare your car – it will only take ten minutes.
  • Clear all windows of snow and ice using de-icer and a scraper – do not drive with only a tiny hole cleared in the windscreen.
  • Check the roof for snow before you drive – it can slip down over the windscreen and obscure your view.
  • Use a cigarette lighter to warm a key for a frozen lock. Don’t breathe on the lock, as the moisture will condense and freeze.
  • Besides an ice scraper and de-icer, you should also carry a mobile phone with a fully charged battery, torch, first-aid kit, tow rope, blankets, warm coat and boots, jump leads, snow shovel, warning triangle, an old sack or rug and water repellent spray.
  • Plan routes to favour major roads which are more likely to have been gritted.
  • Put safety before punctuality when the bad weather closes in. While it’s always a good idea to allow extra time in winter for your journey, delays are likely to occur.
  • Ensure your car is road-worthy by getting it serviced through a Motor Codes subscribed garage.

If you must drive in the snow and ice:

  • If your tyres are making virtually no noise this could be a sign you’re driving on ice.
  • If your vehicle skids, depress the clutch and turn the steering wheel into the direction of the skid. When the vehicle straightens steer along the road. Don’t brake as it will lock your wheels and you’ll skid further.
  • Ensure there is sufficient distance between you and the car in front – stopping distances are ten times longer in ice and snow.
  • Gentle manoeuvres are the key to safe driving. Always apply the brakes gently.
  • Reduce your risk of skidding by reducing your speed – too much power is often the source of problems in snow and ice.
  • Wear comfortable, dry shoes as snow-covered boots will slip on the pedals.
  • Select second gear when pulling away, easing your foot off the clutch gently to avoid wheel-spin.
  • Try to maintain a constant speed, choosing the most suitable gear in advance.
  • When driving downhill, choose third or fourth gear to prevent skidding.
  • If you do get stuck, straighten the steering and clear the snow from the wheels. Put a sack or old rug in front of the driving wheels to give the tyres some grip. Once on the move again, try not to stop until you reach firmer ground.

Source: The AA, SMMT

Filter News

Update Newsletter