As with any weather conditions, always check your tyres for adequate tread levels – you can find out how to check this properly from our Car Care Tips article. Poor tread will lead to little or no grip when driving on snow or ice. This is important that if you live in an area of notorious snow fall, consider switching to specialised winter tyres for the colder months.
– Good quality Screen Wash is priceless when it snows. Make sure you are always topped up as defrosting ice and wet roads will result in a dirty windscreen. Opt for a quality product that will stay as a liquid up to -35 degrees.
– In the mornings leave an extra 15 minute window to allow the de-icing procedure of your vehicle. Never use hot or especially boiling water to remove ice, lukewarm liquid is always the best option. See our tips towards the bottom of this article for more information.
– Before starting your vehicle in the morning ensure the windscreen wipers are switched off. Starting the vehicle with them frozen to the screen could result in blowing the wiper fuse.
– Remove any snow that is on the top of car as driving with a ‘snow wedge’ on the roof is dangerous for two reasons; Firstly it can blow onto the windscreens of other roads users and secondly it can shoot forward under heavy breaking.
– Finally be prepared before you set off on any journey and pack any appropriate tools. In recent years the winter months have caused absolute havoc on Kent’s roads. Be sure to pack the following: Extra De-Icer, Torches, Screen Wash, Shovel, Sunglasses, Mobile Phone, Map, Water and a Warm Blanket.
Driving in Snowy Conditions
– To reduce wheel spin in the snow and ice you must accelerate gently. The best way to do so is to pull away in second gear to reduce engine revs.
– It may sound excessive, but leave up to 10 times the distance between you and the car in front. Stopping distance will increase dramatically on the snow and ice.
– If you do skid or slide stay calm and keep your hands on the steering wheel. If the rear of your car slides out to the right, turn the steering wheel right to effectively straighten out the car. Of course if the rear slides left, turn the steering wheel to the left. Never slam on the brakes as this will simply result in a harsher skid and will increase the stopping distance of the car.
– Roads in general will be extremely slippery, especially if they haven’t been gritted. If you notice tyre tracks left by other motorists, these could have easily iced over leaving little or no grip at all. Take extra care if you have to drive down these roads.
– Always operate your steering wheel and accelerator slowly and smoothly. Any sudden movements can lead to the car loosing grip. Be sure to drive the car in a higher gear than normal to avoid rapid acceleration.
– Finally be wary of bright sunlight that could obscure your vision. The snow can reflect the snow and leave drivers momentarily blind.
Always leave an extra 15 minutes to allow the De-Icing procedure of your car. You need to make sure the windscreen, windows and mirrors are perfectly clear before embarking on any journey, no matter how short. During poor driving conditions you need to be able to see everything as clearly as possible. When dealing with testing conditions due to ice and snow, the last thing you need is impaired vision. In fact it is illegal to drive with poor visibility!
– Never pour hot or especially boiling water onto your car. If you do be prepared to crack the windscreen or windows. The best solution to removing ice is a good quality De-Icer or as a last resort, lukewarm water.
– Don’t worry if your locks freeze up. Us the De-Icer to melt the ice and eventually they will work again. NEVER force the key as it will snap and this will only add to your troubles, including an expensive call out charge.
– Be sure to clear any snow or ice off the cars lights and indicators. Visibility could well be poor and it’s imperative you can see and be seen on the road. The same applies for indicators as other road users need to know well in advance what your next movement will be.
– Finally NEVER turn on your car to warm it up, then leave the vehicle unattended. If you do the car may be stolen and in many cases your insurance policy won’t cover the theft. Of course use the car’s heaters to help the De-Icing process, just make sure you stay with the vehicle.