Top Tips for Driving in Wintry Weather

‘The Beast from the East’ has officially arrived in Northern Ireland and it is COLD outside. With such wintry conditions, we can always expect traffic pile ups and disruption. So, how can you keep yourself safe on the roads over the next few days?

Plan Your Journey

Before heading out in your vehicle, check the latest traffic updates on the radio or social media so you are aware of any particular roads that should be avoided. Even if you know the roads like the back of your hand, be aware of black ice and take it easy.

Give Yourself Extra Time

Add extra time to your journey, even when roads have been treated you should always reduce your speed in snowy/icy conditions. Respect other drivers and keep a safe distance between your vehicle and theirs.

Make Sure You Can See

A pretty obvious piece of advice. Clear all snow off your vehicle before driving. Snow and ice of your windscreen can affect your vision, not only of other vehicles but also of pedestrians crossing the roads. All lights should also be cleared so that other vehicles can spot you on the roads.

Be Prepared

Always be prepared for everything the snow throws at you, in December we saw a number of traffic jams that had people sitting in heir vehicles for long periods of time, you may also find your vehicle freezing over while at work. Consider the following:

  • Check you have a good quality anti-freeze screen wash
  • Check you have enough fuel in your vehicle
  • Pack a de-icer and scraper
  • Warning triangle
  • Hi-vis clothing
  • Torch
  • Jump leads
  • First aid kit
  • Water and snacks

Smoothly Does It

Drive as gentle as you can to reduce lose of traction, when starting your vehicle make sure you are gentle when moving off. Accelerate as gently as you can and chance into a higher gear as soon as possible. If you are driving through snow covered areas, keep your speed slow, it is easier to maintain a slow speed and to slow down in a hurry. Leave extra braking distance between your vehicle and the vehicle in front, your stopping distance should be 10 times greater in snowy and Icey conditions.

Be Aware of Other Drivers

Be conscious of other drivers, don’t expect people to react quickly. It is also important to respect new driver and learner drivers on the roads, it’s likely their first time driving ins now and are probably feeling very nervous. Keep some extra distance and keep patient.

Try Not to Panic if you Slide

If you find your self sliding in the ice and snow, ease off the throttle and straighten the steering wheel to allow your tires to regain grip on the road. If you find that the back of your vehicle starts to slide, steer into the slide to help move the vehicle back into the correct direction.