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With snow forecast this weekend, the roads will become more hazardous. If you do have to make a trip out, Trusted Dealers has put together some tips on how to handle the snow and ice when you’re behind the wheel.
Take a look below at our top tips for driving in snow and ice this winter:
Take time to prepare
During the winter months, it pays to take extra time to plan your journey. If you know it is going to be icy conditions, you’ll need to leave some time to prepare your car:
• Clear your windscreen and windows thoroughly with a scraper and de-icer. Don’t just clear a small hole or slot as it will greatly reduce your visibility and could cause an accident. Also remember to clean your side and rear windows, front and rear lights, door mirrors, number plates and any front or rear parking cameras.
• Check your windscreen wipers aren’t stuck to the screen – if they are, and you turn them on, you can badly damage the blades.
• If your lock is frozen, hold a naked flame such as a cigarette lighter near to the keyhole to warm it up. Do not spray de-icer into the lock.
• If the snow is heavy, plan your route to favour major roads which are more likely to be cleared or gritted.
• If you’re heading out on a longer journey in the snow, pack yourself up some emergency supplies just in case you find yourself stranded in your car. Supplies should include food and water, a warm fleece jumper, a blanket, a torch, a first aid kit, a fully charged mobile phone, jump leads, a shovel, an ice scraper and some de-icer.
• Change your shoes if necessary before you set off – heavy snow-covered boots are more likely to cause your feet to slip on the pedals.
Behind the wheel
Start up your engine and put your car into second gear, then gradually ease your foot off the clutch to avoid wheel spin and set off. Ensure you change the gear early as you accelerate to keep the revs to a minimum and reduce the risk of a
wheel spin. Once on the road, follow some important guidelines below:
• Always leave plenty of space between your car and the vehicle behind or in front of you, to prevent skidding into another car. Remember, stopping distances are around 10 times longer in snow and icy conditions.
• The use of your steering wheel, throttle and brake need to be as smooth, slow and progressive as you can make them. Any sudden changes in the car’s progress could result in the tyres losing grip on the road’s surface which could lead to a skid or a wheel spin.
• If you’re driving an automatic or four-wheel drive car, use the low ratio mode indicated by a snowflake symbol or an ‘L’ if you have one and avoid using sport mode. Or you can select ‘2’ which will limit your gear changes and make you less reliant on the brakes. For more information, check your handbook.
• On a hill – if you are travelling up a hill, choose the most suitable gear well in advance to avoid getting stuck half-way up. If possible, wait until the hill is clear of cars before you begin your ascent to insure you won’t have to stop mid-way up. Or, leave as much room as you can between your car and the one in front. If you are descending down a hill, make sure you reduce your speed well before the hill, use a low gear to descend and avoid using the brakes where possible. If you have to use the brakes use them very gently
• If you do get stuck, straighten the steering wheel and clear the snow from the wheels. Put some sacking down or grit or an old rug in front of the driving wheels to give your tyres some grip. Once on the move again, try to keep going until you reach firmer ground.