How to Drive in Snow Safely
The UK is fortunate in the sense that despite our bitterly cold winters, snow is a rare event in most parts of the country compared to the likes of many other nations in Europe. When heavy downfall of snow does occur, a lot of us Brits tend to panic, particularly on the road. At Online Rock Salt, we take safety very seriously and so here are some of our top tips and advice on how to drive safely in the snow.
Before your journey:
Before you leave, make sure that your journey is essential. If you don’t absolutely have to drive in the snow it is always best to stay at home. If your journey is essential, make sure you allow yourself plenty of extra time as the commute will certainly take longer than usual.
Ensure you remove all the snow & ice from your windscreen. I know, this one seems obvious, but it is not just the windscreen that should be clear before you leave. This is because if snow is left on the roof of your car, it can fall onto the windscreen and block your view. Also, at higher speeds it can even fall off and hit another car behind you with enough force to crack the windscreen or even hit pedestrians.
Driving in Snow:
It is important whilst driving in the snow to keep the car in a high gear. Particularly when you pull away, try to get into second gear and raise the clutch gently, this will help prevent wheel spin and help with handling. If you own an automatic car, ensure that you refer to your user guidebook. Many modern automatic cars feature some variation of a 'winter' mode that will help driving in snowy conditions.
When driving downhill, ease on the breaks as the brake pads may be slightly frozen. If driving up hill, make sure that you do not have to stop on the hill by leaving ample room between you and the car in front, otherwise you will risk sliding backwards. For general driving on the roads, if you take your time and leave lots of room between you and the car in front of you - (the highway code suggest 10 seconds of driving distance) chances are everyone on the road can get to their destination safely.
One of the most dangerous things you may come across whilst driving in the winter is black ice (sometimes known as clear ice). Black ice is a transparent - almost invisible sheet of ice that can be incredibly dangerous to pedestrians and vehicles. As the ice is almost invisible, it is often too late to compensate and so collisions become likely, particularly if the black ice is on a bend in the road. If you are unfortunate enough to come across black ice on your journey, the best advice is to do the following;
- Stay calm
- Do not brake - just slow down by keeping off the accelerator pedal
- Keep the wheel as straight as possible
- If the back wheel slides, gently turn the wheel in the same direction
In snowy conditions, visibility will be reduced and so making sure you use your lights correctly is essential so give your headlights & break lights regular checks to make sure they are still in working order & only use the fog lights when visibility is poor to avoid dazzling any other drivers.
When clearing your car after a heavy snow fall, it is easy to forget about other ‘minor’ spots on your car that you might want to check are snow free like your registration plate – in some areas, this can get you a hefty fine.
Of course, one of the best things anybody can do for road safety is keeping the roads and pathways well gritted. Online Rock Salt offers fantastic prices on our rock salt, so you can be well prepared for the winter ahead. Check out our salt products here: We can also supply salt in loose loads, just let us know before hand on 01695 425 038