For us Brits, driving in the snow is most certainly not an every day occurrence. Therefore, us drivers can't help but go into chaos when the winter weather starts to get worse and the white stuff starts to fall. In the most dangerous conditions that the roads can bring, we need to make sure that we know the tricks on how to tackle the slippery surfaces in the safest way possible. Discover these basic but handy tips on the art of snow driving and everything else that winter throws at us.
Make sure that you accelerate and decelerate slowly. Applying the gas slowly to accelerate is the best method for regaining traction and avoiding skids. Don’t try to get moving in a hurry. And take time to slow down for a stoplight. Remember: It takes longer to slow down on icy roads.
If you’re struggling for traction, don’t accelerate excessively as spinning the wheels will only make things worse. Try using second gear to gain grip when pulling away, while higher gears will help the tyres keep their grip. It's also important to make sure that you're driving slowly and keeping your following distance at eight to ten seconds.
If you’ve got ESP, the stability control element will help you in a slide. But traction control can sometimes kill power too much and make it hard to get moving in heavy snow. Most cars will allow you to turn off the traction element of the stability control. If you have an auto box, check whether you have a winter mode.
Coming up to a hill in snowy weather is one of the most renowned struggles that you can face on the road. Even though you may feel the need to, make sure that you don’t try and immediately power up hills. Applying extra gas on snow-covered roads just starts your wheels spinning. Try to get a little inertia going before you reach the hill and let that inertia carry you to the top. As you reach the crest of the hill, reduce your speed and proceed down the slope as slowly as possible. Another tip to remember is not to stop when going up a hill. There’s nothing worse than trying to get moving up a hill on an icy road.
Know your brakes. Whether you have antilock brakes or not, the best way to stop is threshold breaking. Keep the heel of your foot on the floor and use the ball of your foot to apply firm, steady pressure on the brake pedal. Leave big braking distances to vehicles in front – apply the brake pedal gently and avoid triggering the ABS, because the system can struggle to cope if conditions are very slippery. Older cars without ABS may stop sooner, thanks to the locked wheels causing a snowplough effect that sees snow build up in front of them.
When you first start up your car, don't jump straight in and begin your journey. Give your vehicle plenty of time to warm up and defrost,and clear all the snow and ice from your windows and lights - not doing so could be seen as a traffic offence by the police. If there's a lot of snow on the roof, this should be cleaned off, too, because if it falls off while you're driving it could cause a hazard for other motorists. Ensure your screenwash isn’t frozen and your wipers aren't stuck to your windows. When you're driving, make sure your headlights are on and that you can be seen by other drivers.
Turn your radio on to hear the latest traffic and weather reports, and try and tune into a local station that will have more specific information on your part of the country. Conditions may not be too bad when you set off, but check ahead for your journey, too. If you don’t have winter tyres, try to avoid routes that have steep inclines and stick to main roads, which are more likely to have been treated.
If the front wheels start to push across the road, don’t crank on more lock. Ease off the throttle and straighten the steering for a moment to allow the tyres to regain grip. If the rear of the car starts to drift, steer into the slide – known as applying opposite lock. Always look where you want the car to go, because this will help you go in the right direction. Avoid standing on the brakes, as this will lock them and cause ABS-equipped cars to lose their effectiveness.
Overall, the main advice that we would recommend is that if you can, don't attempt to drive in the snow at all. Unless your journey is critical, it is important to be sensible and avoid the roads all together as this will reduce traffic, hazards and collisions in general.
To make sure that your car is in perfect condition for the cold weather, Snows provides fantastic servicing offers and Winter Safety Checks across all our franchises. Ensuring that you and your car are safe this winter.
Snows has 45 franchised dealerships across the South of England, stretching from Plymouth to Guildford, and including the Isle of Wight. The Group prides itself on its reputation and dedication to delivering excellent customer service, and is rewarded by the fact that over half of its business comes from returning customers. With Snows, driving becomes an experience, rather than a chore.
Author: Sophie Taylor
Please contact Sophie Taylor using firstname.lastname@example.org or 02380 707750 with all press enquiries.
Posted on 28/02/2018