The MET office has issued weather warnings for heavy rain and a drop in temperature over the coming weeks, therefore, it is crucial to consider the potential risk of icy conditions on the roads. With this in mind, the experts at Bill Plant Driving School have shared five tips all motorists should be aware of for staying safe on the roads this winter.
5 winter weather driving tips
1 – Think about your stopping distance.
When a road surface becomes slippy, it makes a vehicle unable to break as quickly as it would be able to on a dry surface. For this reason, you should leave a gap between you and the car in front up to 10 times the normal recommended braking distance.
2 – How to correct a skid on ice.
If a vehicle skids on ice, the person behind the wheel can often panic, which is why it’s important to understand what to do in this situation. Remove your foot from the accelerator as the more power you apply, the more likely your vehicle will continue to skid. Steer the wheel in the direction of the skidding vehicle to bring the vehicle out of the skid and into a straight line.
3 – Drive in a higher gear in snow and ice.
When driving in snow, you should drive in as high a gear as possible, even if you’re driving at a slower speed. Tyres grip less efficiently in wet and cold conditions, so by driving in a higher gear, you will keep your vehicle’s revs low and prevent your wheels from spinning out.
4. Drive for the conditions, not the speed limit.
Speed limits are the maximum in ideal driving conditions, meaning it’s not always safe to drive at this speed in bad weather. On icy and wet surfaces, tyre grip is greatly reduced making braking distances much longer.
5 – Use your fog lights when necessary.
Fog lights are installed to make your vehicle more visible in poor visibility conditions such as fog, heavy rain or snow. If visibility is less than 100m, put your fog lights on. Remember to switch your fog lights off when visibility improves as this could land with a £50 fine.
Tom Hixon, Head of Instructor Support, from Bill Plant Driving School has shared the following about driving during the winter months:
“Driving in the winter months can require a few changes to your technique to ensure you are driving as safely and efficiently as possible. Ice can be a common risk during these colder months, with black ice taking drivers by surprise. Knowing how to control and correct a skid is crucial for driver safety – the best way to do this is to remove your foot from the accelerator and steer into the skid; for example, if the vehicle is sliding to the left, steer to the left, this will bring you out of the skid. I’d also advise driving in a higher gear on snow and ice – a higher gear will help keep your revs low and prevent your wheels from spinning out. My main piece of safety advice is to drive for the conditions, not the speed limit – the limit is there as a maximum, however, if the conditions aren’t ideal, you need to adjust your speed to ensure optimum control and safety when driving. You will also need to give yourself a greater stopping distance, in adverse weather conditions you will need at least 10 seconds to come to a complete stop when driving.”