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A Guide to Driving safely in Icy Winter Conditions


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A practical how-to guide for driving in winter weather in honour of Road Safety Week.

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A Guide to Driving safely in Icy Winter Conditions

  1. 1. A Guide to Driving Safely in Icy Winter Conditions Road Safety Week 2011 November 21st to 27th
  2. 2. Plan your Journey• The weather in the UK can change rapidly, and you should check the latest weather and road conditions for your area before departing• Consider alternate routes o If there is heavy snow, trunk roads will be cleared first and salted more often• Allow extra time for your journey o Depending on conditions, you may need to drive slower than the posted speed limit o Be flexible, you may have to divert from your planned route to avoid fallen trees or road accidents• For additional safety, tell someone about your journey and when you plan to arrive, and then check in with them when you do
  3. 3. Whenever possible just stay home
  4. 4. Check your Vehicle Thoroughly• Before driving, you should check your antifreeze and screen wash fluid and top them up if required o Do not use water to clear a frozen windshield, cold water can refreeze in minutes and warm water can cause cracks o Most screen wash has a de-icing agent added in, but you should check the freezing temperature all the same• Properly clear any ice and snow that has accumulated on your vehicle with a brush and scraper (a credit card works too) o You could be subject to a fine if you fail to clear snow from your bonnet or roof o Be sure to clear the nozzles for your screen wash because ice can easily get stuck there and block the flow• Check that your tyres are properly inflated and have a deep enough tread
  5. 5. Winter Tyres• Winter tyres give you more grip and better handling at temperatures below 7°C than comparable all-season tyres. They also help you stop sooner• When accelerating, winter tyres reduce spin – they are designed to displace water under the tyre which allows them to grip better • If you choose to have them, you should have a complete set because combining winter and summer tyres can throw your vehicle off balance and cause you to slide. Winter tyres won’t affect car insurance quotes for most insurers, but you should check with your insurer first. • If you’re driving a road that hasn’t been cleared of snow and ice (mountainous areas where you need more traction), you should be carrying chains just in case. While using chains you’ll need to slow down to a maximum of 30mph and take them off when you get to cleared road; there will often be signage where chains are required
  6. 6. Pack a Survival KitIf you do get stuck, there are a few things that will make yourlife much, much easier:• Warm clothing and blankets• Torch (with extra batteries)• Food and water• Cell phone with a car charger• Shovel• Rock salt or sand (anything that you can put under your tyres for traction)• Traffic cone and reflective vest• A good pair of waterproof boots
  7. 7. Drive to the Conditions• It can take 10 times longer to stop on an icy road surface compared to when conditions are clear• You need to leave a greater distance between you and other cars to compensate for the longer stopping times• Gentle turning, braking, and acceleration means more of your tyre is touching the road and you’ll have better control • Icy roads are difficult to distinguish from wet roads; black ice is usually thin and virtually transparent and it can linger in shaded areas for hours • Glare from the sun reflecting off the snow can be extremely hazardous. A good pair of sunglasses combined with the visor will help • You should avoid stopping on a hill, and leave an even greater distance between you and other cars; if the car in front begins to slide back, you’ll have more time to avoid a collision
  8. 8. If you feel like you’re losing control and are going into a skid:• DON’T PANIC• Gear down slowly• Remove your foot from the gas pedal• Avoid braking or sudden turning• Gently steer in the direction you want to go until you start to regain traction, then gently accelerate
  9. 9. Slow Down and Drive Carefully