Driving in the snow

Alert message sent 07/02/2021 13:18:00

Information sent on behalf of Derbyshire Constabulary


Driving in the snow

1. Wear comfortable and dry footwear

2. Accelerate gently

3. Move off in second gear as this will help reduce wheel spin - some cars have a winter mode.

4. Maintain safe stopping distances between you and the car in front, leaving as much as 10 times the normal recommended gap

5. Prepare for an uphill by leaving plenty of room in front so you can maintain a constant speed without the need for changing gear

6. Use a low gear for going downhill and try to avoid braking unless necessary, make sure you leave plenty of space between you and the car in front

7. When approaching a bend, brake before you actually start to turn the steering wheel. If your car does lose grip try not to panic; the key thing is to take your foot off the accelerator and make sure that your wheels are pointing in the direction you want to go in

8. If you do encounter a skid, steer gently into it - 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

9. When driving in heavy snow, make sure that you use your dipped headlights. Relying on daytime running lights is not enough, because they don’t always put lights on the back of your car.

10. If visibility drops below a 100m, put your fog lights on. But remember to turn them off when the visibility improves.

11. If the road has not been gritted, be wary of driving in the wheeltracks or other vehicles as compressed snow is likely to be more icy than fresh snow

12. Controls such as the brakes, as well as the steering, accelerator and even gear changing should be operated smoothly and slowly

13. Sunglasses can help to reduce the glare of low winter sun on the snow

14. Keep your speed down and allow more time to stop and steer

15. Finally, it’s important to think about the environment that you’re driving in, especially microclimates that might appear on the road. These are areas that perhaps the sun hasn’t got to, which could stay icy when the rest of the road has thawed. Bridges are a good example. They’re normally the first to freeze and the last to thaw. So be aware of that when you’re driving in open spaces.

REMEMBER: Make sure you keep your car clean. The salt used to de-ice roads can cause corrosion to your car over time, so it’s worth making a point of cleaning it regularly throughout the winter months.
Message sent by
Benjamin Morris (Police, PCSO, Derbyshire Dales)

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