How to drive on snowy roads

How to drive on snowy roads 18th November 2014

The cold weather has started to descend on the UK after a rather mild start to winter, and that can only mean one thing for drivers – conditions on the roads are about to get a bit more difficult.

Colder weather means that there can be ice on the roads, while colder tyres can be more prone to skidding and losing grip. According to official government figures, winter weather conditions are to blame for more than 6,000 accidents per year. 

One weather type that causes more problems than any other is snow. Snowy roads can be very challenging for drivers to deal with, so knowing the best way to make sure you're safe will give you peace of mind when you're out and about this winter. 

  • Tyres. Having the right tyres will be key to making sure you are safe in the snow this winter. It's not necessary by law, but changing to winter tyres can be a good move. Their compound make up means that they are better at coping with weather colder than 7C, giving you better grip on the road.
  • Shoes. It may not be something you even think of, but having the right shoes on can make all the difference. Never drive in shoes that are wet or covered in snow as you may find your feet slipping off the pedals. A good move is to have a spare pair in the car to change into before you set off. 
  • Pulling away. You may be accustomed to driving away in first gear, but when you're driving in snow, it's better to put the car into second gear before pulling away to minimise the risk of wheel spins. 
  • Hills. Probably the most imposing part of driving in snow will be tackling hills. When driving up hill, you should make sure you can get all the way up without stopping, as it can be hard to get going again. Choose a low gear in advance and leave plenty of space for cars in front of you. When coming down a hill, reduce your speed, use a low gear and try not to brake if you can help it. This will reduce the chances of skidding.
  • Be prepared. One of the most important things to remember when driving in snow is to be prepared. Taking a warm coat, a fully charged mobile phone and a shovel and piece old carpet, both of which can be invaluable if you get stuck in the snow and need to free the car.

Posted by Danielle Barge