As the winter weather settles in across the country, we would like to share with you some tips for driving in adverse conditions should you be making trips out and about this festive season.
Before setting off
Be sure to check your vehicle’s functions. Check your tyre tread and depth, ensure your tyres are properly inflated; make sure that you have enough oil and fluids in your engine (especially antifreeze!); check the correct function of wipers and lights and make sure that any luggage that you’re carrying is securely fastened down.
In severe levels of winter weather, it is a good practice to check the roads before you travel. National Highways (previously Highways England) provides to-the-minute traffic reports on the Strategic Road Network across the country. You can also use apps like BBC Weather for alerts and weather warnings in your area. The worst thing is being caught off-guard in a snow storm!
Once on the road, be sure to keep an eye on any changing conditions; this is most important on longer journeys when different parts of the country could be experiencing multiple weather fronts.
Stopping distances are doubled in the rain and 10x greater in ice.
With that in mind, it is mindful to leave extra space between other road users.
Skidding and Aquaplaning
Skidding and aquaplaning can also cause issues in bad weather. To prevent this, make sure you brake and accelerate gently and, if you do start to skid:
Stop braking and accelerating, as the tyres find grip carefully steer the car into the direction of the skid. For example, if the rear of the car skids to the left, steer quickly and smoothly to the left.
(This deals with a front wheel skid, mostly caused by going round corners on slippery roads too fast or braking heavily in corners).
Hopefully these few tips will serve you well over winter, and remember, if driving conditions are extremely bad or you’re unsure about being on the road, it’s better to stay at home.