A thorough manual for driving safely in the snow

Driving in snowy circumstances can be extremely difficult for drivers and even result in an accident.
In light of this, preparing thoroughly before setting out on a trek in the snow is essential.

It is essential to know how to prepare your vehicle and yourself and think about alternative strategies for driving in challenging circumstances.

Is it prohibited to drive a car that has snow on it?

The journey can be made safer by using the following advice.

before driving in snow

Plan your trip.

Make sure to plan your route before you go correctly. Use the RAC Route Planner to receive traffic news updates for the smoothest possible travel.

Take into account locations that will be exposed to the weather and perhaps are prone to flooding. To avoid being taken off guard, stay informed on the weather where you are.

additional time

Before leaving, give yourself more time than usual to clean the snow from your car’s windows, mirrors, lights, and rooftop. You may be breaching the law if you drive with snow on your vehicle.

Additionally, you will need to de-ice your windscreen. For more information, see our page with the seven best techniques for keeping your windscreen clear in the winter.

Additionally, it would help if you spent some time cleaning the interior of your windscreen because it is against the law to drive without being able to see out of every window. For more information, visit our page on how to demist your windscreen quickly.

Having a lock de-icer on hand will help you clear your lock, which is another smart move. If your locks freeze, try warming the key or lubricating the lock with a de-icer or an oil-based lubricant.

The subsequent checks will also take time, so you must account for them before you leave.

Examine your wipers.

Before starting the ignition, ensure all auto wiper controls are turned off because if they are stuck to the screen, this could cause the wiper control fuse to explode. To successfully clear your windscreen, your wipers must be properly functioning.

Examine your tires.

Verify the tread depth on the tires. When driving on snow and ice, bad tires will not have traction.

Switching to winter tires with thicker tread can be worthwhile if you live in a region where snowfall is frequent.

You might consider using snow chains or even snow socks if the weather is abysmal.

Verify your screenwash.

To stop the water from freezing, use a high-quality screenwash that protects at least -35 degrees. If you don’t, your windshield wipers may become inoperable in severe weather. If you’re unsure how to check and top off your screenwash, go here.

Bring emergency supplies.

Be ready for anything by making sure your car has the following items: a demisting pad, a torch (wind-up, so you don’t run out of battery), a hi-vis vest to make you visible if you break down, a blanket to keep you warm, some food, a drink, a spare bottle of screenwash, a de-icer, a blanket, a shovel, a phone charger, a map, a first aid kit, a warning triangle, As an alternative, you can purchase RAC Recovery Track, which will rescue you from mud, sand, and snow.

The essential item to have with you before driving in the snow is a charged mobile phone with the breakdown service’s phone number saved so you can always contact for assistance.

Snow driving techniques

  • Don comfy, dry shoes.
  • Gently accelerate, keep the engine revs low, and shift to a higher gear as soon as possible.
  • Move into second gear as this will prevent wheel slip; some cars have a winter mode that accomplishes the same thing; check your car’s manual to see whether it has this feature.
  • Get your speed under control and maintain safe stopping distances from the vehicle before you, leaving up to ten times the usually advised spacing.
  • Leave enough space in front of you when going uphills so you can maintain your speed without shifting gears.
  • When driving downhill, shift into low gear, avoid braking unless necessary, and give yourself plenty of room from the vehicle in front of you.
  • Brake before turning the steering wheel as you approach a bend. Try not to panic if your car loses traction; the important thing is to release the pedal and check that your wheels are pointed in the direction you wish to drive.
  • If you do experience a skid, steer gently into it. For instance, if the car’s rear is sliding to the right, move in that direction. Avoid removing your hands from the wheel or stomping the brakes.
  • Use your dipped headlights if you are traveling in dense snow. Because daytime running lights don’t always illuminate the back of your automobile, relying just on them is insufficient.
  • Turn on your fog lights if the visibility falls below 100 meters. But keep in mind to switch them off once the visibility is better.
  • Drive carefully in the wheel tracks of other cars if the road has not been gritted since compressed snow is likely to be slicker than new snow.
  • All controls, including the brakes, steering, accelerator, and even the gear shifter, should be used carefully and smoothly.
  • The brightness of the low winter sun on the snow can be lessened with sunglasses.
  • Reduce your speed and give yourself more time to stop and turn.
  • Finally, it’s critical to consider your surroundings when driving, particularly any potential microclimates on the highway. These are places where the sun may not have reached yet, and they might still be icy after the rest of the road has thawed. Bridges are a prime illustration. Typically, they are the last to melt and the first to freeze. So keep that in mind while you drive in wide-open spaces.

Remember to maintain your vehicle spotless. It’s important to remember to clean your automobile frequently during the winter because the salt used to de-ice roadways can eventually erode it.

To complement the above points, we’ve included a brief but instructive video that covers everything to remember when driving in the snow.

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