How to Drive Safely in the Snow
Whilst the majority of us wish for snow every Christmas it can be a real problem for drivers, causing challenges and increasing the chances of accidents. With this in mind here at Toomey Motor Group, we have produced an article on how to prepare and drive safely in snowy conditions.
How should I prepare for driving in the snow?
Driving safely in the snow begins long before you sit anywhere near the wheel of your car. In fact, it should begin before your day of travel. Planning your route ahead of leaving is vital to staying safe whilst driving in the snow. Try to plan your route around areas that will have been gritted and try to avoid back lanes and quiet roads, as these are more likely to be untreated. Another important tip for driving in wintery conditions is to leave more time than you normally would. This is to allow you time to complete these tasks:
- To clean your car completely of snow
- To de-ice your windscreen and windows
- To warm up your car
- To check your tyres
What should I bring on my journey?
This brings us on to the next tip: Make sure you have everything you need. There are lots of handy equipment and tools that can be helpful in these winter months. The following are just some of the items you may find useful in snowy conditions:
- Scraper and de-icer – To help remove the ice from windscreens and windows
- Brush – To help clean the settled snow off your car
- Warm Clothing and a blanket – To keep you warm in case you breakdown or your heating stops working
- A mobile phone charger – To charge your phone in case of emergency, however your phone should be fully charged before leaving with a breakdown number saved.
- Shovel – In order to clear snow in case you get stuck
- Dry and sturdy footwear – To stop any potential slips whilst driving after walking in the snow
- Sunglasses – Might seem an odd choice for the winter months however sunglasses can be very useful in the winter months, by reducing the impact of glare from the sun reflecting on the snow
Visit our Online Parts and Accessories Shop to purchase winter care kits!
Make sure your car is maintained to handle winter
It is also important to make sure your car is ready for winter, as the colder months can be brutal on your car! Book in your Winter Health Check with Toomey Motor Group. The check will access a number of things including your tyres, lights and battery to make sure your car is fully prepared to handle the winter weather!
How to drive in snow and ice
After you’ve planned your journey and made sure you have all the necessary equipment to be fully prepared to brave the snowy conditions, now is the time to actually drive in the snow.
- Wear dry, sturdy and comfortable footwear
- Pull off in 2nd gear, lifting the clutch gently, to help avoid any wheel slip
- Gently accelerate and move up gears as soon as possible
- Maintain a safe and as consistent as possible speed, leaving up to 10 times the normal gap to the car in front
- Whilst you will be driving slower, try not to drive too slow as to not lose momentum when you may need it
- Drive so that you don’t have to rely on your brakes and if you do need to brake, do it smoothly, gently and early
- When turning, if your car loses grip try not to panic; The 2 important matters are to take your foot away from the accelerator and make sure your wheels are facing the direction you want to go in
- If you begin to skid again do not panic; Try gently steering into it, so if the rear of your car is skidding to the left, gently steer to the left. Don’t let go of the steering wheel or slam your foot on the brakes.
- When driving down a slope, slow down and leave as big a gap as safely possible to the car in front, use a low gear and try to avoid breaking.
- Be wary of the road you’re driving on – Has the road been gritted? Has the road received any sunlight to melt the ice? The tracks left by other drivers on roads that haven’t been gritted are more likely to be icy, as compressed snow is more likely to be icy and slippery than fresh snow.
What do I do if I get stuck in the snow?
If the worst happens and you do get stuck in the snow again try not to panic as there are a few steps you can follow that may be of some help.
- If you are stuck, do not try to keep moving if the wheels spin as this will only dig your tyres down deeper
- Instead, turn your wheels from side to side to try and help push the snow out of the way and clear the wheels
- Use a shovel (The one you hopefully packed before you set off) to clear the snow out of the way. Sand, grit or even cat litter can then be poured in front of the wheels in order to help gain traction
- If you are completely stuck, firstly call a breakdown recovery company and follow their advice. You can call the Toomey Accident Management Helpline on 08082 392888.
- You can help to stay warm by keeping the engine running, but it is vitally important that the exhaust pipe is not blocked with snow, as if it is highly toxic carbon monoxide could enter your car.
- Even if you deem it safe to leave your engine running, do not do so for more than 10 minutes in each hour.
- Stay in or as close to your car as possible. In heavy snow it’s easy to get disorientated and separated from your car. Put your hazard lights on and hang something colourful on your car to heighten visibility.
Snow can be fun and exciting especially around Christmas time, but as seen in this article it can be very dangerous to drivers and road users. Hopefully, this article has given you some helpful tips on how to drive safely in the snow. Lastly, we hope you stay safe and from everyone here at Toomey Motor Group we wish you a Merry Christmas!