By Denna Bowman
With snow and ice affecting many parts of the country the Institute of Advanced Motoring has issued advice for safe winter driving, from checking tyres to avoiding high revs.
Skidding on ice is the main concern for those driving in freezing conditions, but by taking the right precautions motorists could avoid costly and tragic accidents, according to the IAM.
Peter Rodger, IAM Chief Examiner says: ““When driving in snow, get your speed right – not too fast so that you risk losing control, but not so slow that you risk losing momentum when you need it – and brake, steer and accelerate as smoothly as possible.
“Start gently from stationary, avoiding high revs. If you get yourself into a skid the main thing to remember is to take your foot off the accelerator and steer, never use the brake.”
Other tips include:
Double or even triple your normal stopping distance from the vehicle in front.
Plan your journey around busier roads as they are more likely to have been gritted.
On motorways stay in the clearest lane where possible, away from slush and ice. Keep within the clear tyre tracks if you can.
Stay in a higher gear for better control.
As conditions improve make sure your foglights are only on if necessary – they can dazzle other drivers.
In falling snow use dipped headlights to make yourself visible to others (especially pedestrians)
Check the weather in advance – don’t ignore police warnings about closed roads.
Make sure you have an emergency kit so you are prepared in the event of a breakdown. This should include a torch, food for energy, water and a blanket. On longer journeys always let someone know you have set off and tell them your planned route.
Ensure your mobile is charged up so you can make a call in an emergency – but don’t use it when driving!
Do a proper winter check of your vehicle, looking at washer fluid, de-icer/scraper and tyres.