By Oliver Hall
As the UK struggles with extreme weather conditions, drivers are at the front line of the battle to stay safe on the roads.
And many are armed with false facts about how to keep safe in all areas from tyres to braking.
The UK’s largest driving school BSM has put together a list of common myths and misconceptions about driving at this time of year – and how you can stay as safe as possible.
With anti-lock brakes, braking can be done without any danger. The snow won’t affect braking ability.
Having anti-lock brakes means that stopping distances may be longer than with traditional brakes. Controls such as the brakes, as well as the steering, accelerator and even gear changing should be done both smoothly and slowly. When driving in snowy or icy conditions remember to leave a bigger gap between your vehicle and the one in front. This may need to be as much at ten times the normal recommended gap.
When skidding, you should let go of the steering wheel or jam on the brakes as hard as you can.
Steer into to a skid – for example, if the rear of the car is sliding to the right, steer to the right. Do not take your hands off the steering wheel or stamp your foot on the brakes – a mistake many people make.
Windscreen wipers will take away the snow and mist on the windscreen so there is no need to spend time cleaning it in the morning.
Many people forget to put additives into their windscreen washer bottles, which prevent the water from freezing, meaning windscreen wipers are rendered useless in extreme conditions. Drivers should allow more time in the morning to clear the car windows and mirrors of snow and ice before setting off.
Tyres are strong enough to cope in the snow.
Before the first snows, check tyres for adequate tread. Poor tyres will not grip when driving on snow and ice.
The car should be kept in a lower gear at all times on icy roads as it is safer.
A higher gear may be more appropriate to aid the tyres gripping when moving off on packed ice and snow.
Capable drivers should be fine to drive at a good speed, as long as they are aware of the hazards on the road.
All drivers should keep their speed down, allowing more time to stop and steer.