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Tips & Advice for Driving in the Snow

Driving in snowy and icy conditions can prove an almighty challenge for even the most experienced of drivers. So with the bad weather starting to set in. We thought we'd give motorists across Swindon the lowdown on how to keep safe in the snow.

First things first, in extreme conditions, only make a journey if it's absolutely necessary; if you do have to drive, make sure that you leave yourself plenty of time.

Before you set off on your journey, clear all snow and ice from your car windows and windscreen. 

When de-icing windscreens avoid using hot water. Although this will get the job done a lot faster, it may crack the glass and will ultimately re-freeze. 

Only once your car is fully de-frosted will you be able to set off on your travels:

  • In a manual car move off in a higher gear, rather than using first
  • Pull away gently
  • Avoid high revs
  • In the event of a skid - take your foot off the pedals and steer
  • If you're driving as snow begins to fall, make yourself visible by using dipped headlights or fog lights

When driving in the snow, remember to maintain a steady speed. If you drive too fast you risk losing control whereas if you drive too slowly, you risk losing momentum. Although this sounds like a near impossible task; once you've gotten a feel for the road you'll find it easier to find the right balance.

Avoid relying on other motorists lights when driving at night, driving too closely to other vehicles can cause serious accidents; if snow is on the ground, keep well back from nearby traffic.

Try to avoid breaking as much as possible as this is a huge skid risk, instead use your gears to slow your vehicle. Steering and accelerating as smoothly as possible will ensure a safer journey.

Motorists are encouraged not rely on their brakes to be able to stop:

  • Double your normal stopping distance
  • Do not rely on ABS (ant-breaking system)

If you can, we'd recommend planning your journey around busier roads; avoiding minor routes and country lanes. Busier roads are more likely to have been gritted whereas quieter roads won't have been given the salt treatment or cleared. 

  • If you have to use a motorway; stay in the clearest lane. Avoiding any slush and ice and if possible stay in clear tyre markings
  • Remember using a higher gear will give you better control

Finally, keep an 'Emergency Snow Kit' in your car, including a set of jump leads, a shovel, an Ice scraper, a blanket, a torch and  first aid kit. This will come in handy if the worst does happen. 

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