Following the ABC of winter driving

13th February 2013

There is still plenty of snow in the air across the UK, while sub-zero temperatures also mean that drivers are waking up to thick ice and frost on their beloved cars on a daily basis.

However, it is not only the frustration of constantly getting the de-icer out of the glove compartment and using a trusty scraper to get a vehicle fit for purpose once more that should concern motorists.

Piles of snow and black ice instantly make roads hazardous, so drivers must be sure they know how to handle the conditions to avoid encountering a major problem during a commute.

Thankfully, road safety charity Brake is here to help with its ABC of winter driving, which Julie Townsend, the organisation's deputy chief executive, has been keen to outline.

She acknowledged: "Every year we support many families whose lives have been torn apart by bad weather crashes, so we're calling on drivers to do everything they can to help avoid tragedies during this cold snap."

So just what is the ABC of winter driving?

Avoid driving in snow and other treacherous conditions

It is understandable that there are certain road trips that simply cannot be put off. On the flip side though, is that journey to a shopping centre to get a few new clothes really that urgent?  Do you really need to pay your friends a visit in their new house today of all days? Can't that hair appointment be put back by a day or two?

This is the message that Brake is delivering with point one of its ABC of winter driving.

However, even a trip to the workplace can be avoided as long as an employee talks to their manager in advance and finds a way of fulfilling commitments at home instead of at the desk.

Also, if there is a bus or train that can get a staff member to and from work, it could be very wise just to jump on these forms of public transport until the wintry weather clears away.

"The most important message is to err on the side of caution and not drive if it's snowing, forecast to snow, or there are other potentially deadly conditions," Ms Townsend underlined.

Be prepared

Right, so there is no other alternative but to step behind the wheel of a vehicle and brave the wintry weather. It's time to get prepared for the trip ahead then.

Brake recommends that before a car has even left the drive, owners should do the essential vehicle maintenance checks, such as ensuring that the vehicle's oil and water are topped up to the maximum levels.

Pour the correct concentration of antifreeze into the engine as well, to keep the motor powering through even the coldest of days, while monitoring car tyres to make sure they have a tread depth of at least three millimetres.

Each of these tasks only take a few minutes to complete, but could prove the difference between whether a car breaks down on a wintry day or powers through from A to B and back again without a single hitch.

Careful and cautious driving

It is common sense that motorists cannot take the same approach to driving during a wintry day with snow in the air than on a summer's day when the sun is shining.

Ms Townsend picked up on this, stating: "If you get caught in bad weather the most critical thing is to slow right down and keep your distance, bearing in mind it will take you much longer to stop in an emergency."

Other tips for being on the road during harsh bouts of wintry weather include never braking during a corner – slow the car down in anticipation of the bend instead – and staying calm and in control should a vehicle find itself in a spin.

For added peace of mind, it could also prove a very good investment if drivers fit their cars with a set of winter tyres or snow chains until the wintry weather passes.

These items can be stored away once spring comes around too, meaning they will be ready to use once more when the snow and ice returns in a year's time.

ATS Euromaster is the place to go for selecting a wide range of cheap and reliable winter tyres.

Posted by Danielle Barge