Tips for driving in the snow and ice
While it is advisable not to make any unnecessary car trips when it is snowing and roads are particularly icy, the reality is that sometimes, you have to drive, regardless of the weather.
Here are some tips for driving during difficult winter weather conditions:
Before you start
- Avoid driving while you’re fatigued. Getting the proper amount of rest before taking on winter weather reduces driving risks.
- Never warm up a vehicle in an enclosed area, such as a garage.
- Make certain your tyres are properly inflated before you head off.
- Make sure you have enough fuel for your journey and be aware that using the heating will increase fuel consumption.
- Clear the snow and icy completely off your vehicle before starting off. Do not be tempted to drive off with snow on the roof of your car as this may slip down onto the windscreen while you are driving, obscuring your vision.
- Remember to also clean off the lights so cars will be able to see when you are braking.
- Never use cruise control settings on your vehicle in snow and icy road conditions as it will make it easier to lose control of your vehicle.
- Always look and steer where you want to go, avoid distractions while driving such as the radio, you will need to concentrate fully on the road.
- Accelerate and decelerate slowly. Accelerating slowly ensures you maintain traction and avoiding skids. The same applies when you are slowing down - remove your foot from the accelerator and slow down as much as possible. Never slam on the brakes suddenly. Remember: It takes longer to slow down on icy roads so give your self plenty of space between yourself and the vehicles in front of you.
- Don’t power up hills. Applying extra acceleration 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 hill as slowly as possible.
- Don’t stop when driving up a hill. There’s nothing worse than trying to get moving up a hill on an icy road. Get some inertia going on a flat roadway before you take on the hill.
- Stay home. If you really don’t have to go out, don’t. Even if you can drive well in the snow, not everyone else can. Don’t tempt fate: If you don’t have somewhere you have to be, watch the snow from indoors.