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How to drive in snow and icy weather #drive #snow #icy #weather #englishheadline


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Cars driving in heavy snow

Cars driving in heavy snow

Driving in severe winter weather poses many challenges and in very bad conditions it may be best to avoid driving unless essential.

But if you must drive, here’s how to make sure you and your car are as prepared as possible and what to do if you are caught out in bad weather.

Prepare yourself

Allow extra time before you set off to de-ice the car and expect journeys to take much longer.

Plan journeys around major roads, which are more likely to be gritted or cleared. Avoid shortcuts on minor roads.

Wear warm clothes and comfortable shoes to drive in.

Graphic showing what to take when driving in winter including warm clothes, charged mobile, medication, first aid kit, blanket, shovel, ice-scraper, food and a hot drink

Graphic showing what to take when driving in winter including warm clothes, charged mobile, medication, first aid kit, blanket, shovel, ice-scraper, food and a hot drink

Don’t forget your coat and pack a hat, gloves, sturdy boots, a blanket to keep you warm in case you do get stuck or have to leave your car.

Take some food, chocolate, biscuits, water and a hot drink if you can.

Always carry a fully-charged mobile, a shovel to clear snow and some old bits of carpet, or cat litter, to put under the tyres if you get stuck.

Prepare your car

Consider buying winter tyres, which offer extra grip, especially if you live in an area which regularly experiences snow.

If you stick with standard tyres, make sure they’re inflated at the right pressure and that each has at least 3mm of tread.

Car batteries run down more quickly in winter. Make sure you do a regular long journey to top it up, or use a trickle-charger to keep it performing well.

Keep screenwash topped up and use a proper anti-freeze at the right concentration to prevent ice forming.

If there’s a risk of windscreen wipers freezing, place a piece of cardboard between the blades and the windscreen overnight.

Keep your fuel tank topped up – that way if you are caught out, you’ll have enough fuel to make it home or run the engine to keep warm.

However, if you do get stuck, make sure snow does not block the exhaust as noxious fumes can leak into the vehicle.

Driving in snow and ice

Scraping snow off a car windscreen

Scraping snow off a car windscreen

Clear all snow and ice from the windscreen, windows and roof of the car before driving off.

Don’t use water to de-ice windscreens – hot water can crack the glass, and the water will only freeze again on the screen or on the ground where you are standing.

If you drive a manual vehicle, use second gear to pull away, lifting the clutch gently to avoid wheel spin. Stay in a higher gear for better control as you pick up speed.

Many automatic cars have a ‘snow’ or ‘winter’ mode feature for the gearbox, if unsure, refer to your car’s handbook.

Maintain the right speed for the conditions – not too fast so that you risk losing control, but not so slow that you risk losing momentum when you need it.

Brake, steer and accelerate as smoothly as possible and drive so that you do not rely on your brakes to be able to stop.

Stopping distances are up to 10 times greater in snow and ice.

Graphic showing stopping distances are longer in snow and icy conditions eg 395m when travelling 50mph instead of 53m in normal conditions

Graphic showing stopping distances are longer in snow and icy conditions eg 395m when travelling 50mph instead of 53m in normal conditions

Leave even more space behind the car in front than you usually would.

On motorways, stay in the lane clearest of snow, ice and slush. Keep within the clear tyre tracks if you can.

What to do if you get stuck

If you are stuck, do not try to keep moving if the wheels spin – it will only dig you in deeper.

Use a shovel to clear snow from under your tyres. Pour cat litter, sand or gravel in front of the wheels to help get traction.

Shift from forward to reverse and back again. Give a light touch on the accelerator until the vehicle gets going.

If you can’t move your car, you can stay warm by running the engine. However, it is vital that the exhaust pipe is not blocked by snow as highly toxic carbon monoxide gas could enter the car.

If there is any risk the fumes can come into the car, do not run the engine. Even if it is safe, do not run the engine for more than 10 or 15 minutes in each hour.

Stay in or close to your car.

In heavy snow, it is easy to get disorientated and lost or separated from your vehicle. If necessary, you can hang a piece of brightly coloured cloth on your car to let others know you are there.

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