Top tips for driving in wintry weather

11th January 2013

Drivers have been advised on how they can remain safe on the road if they have to complete a commute while it is snowing.

Forecasters have warned that wintry weather will hit the UK in a harsh way this weekend, with the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) on hand to help road users avoid problems.

The organisation believes that it is imperative to prepare for driving in wintry conditions. As such, motorists should ensure their vehicle's windows are clear and snow is thoroughly removed from a roof before setting off.

Once behind the wheel, drivers should stay in a higher gear than what they would use if driving in dry road conditions – for better control – and double or even triple their stopping distances from the vehicle in front.

Should a motorist find themselves in a skid on snow or ice, the best strategy is to focus on the steering and only use the brakes in an emergency.

However, Peter Rodger, the chief examiner at the IAM, underlined: "When there's snow on the ground, avoid travelling unless absolutely necessary, and don't ignore police warnings or advice to not travel on specific routes. Can you work remotely or change your schedule?"

If drivers have no other choice but to step behind the wheel of a car once the snow and wintry weather settles in, the IAM encouraged motorists to always plan journeys around busier routes. This is because main roads will be more likely to have been gritted recently and are sure to be much less hazardous than short cuts or back roads.

Back to the topic of being prepared for driving in wintry conditions, the IAM has encouraged motorists to pack an emergency kit into their vehicle before setting off on a road trip.

Well-known road safety charity Brake has echoed this particular piece of advice, believing that items found inside this package could prove a lifesaver should the unexpected occur.

According to Brake, each in-car emergency kit should be filled with a warning triangle and high-visibility jacket, so that other road users are alerted in advance of a broken down vehicle's presence.

Meanwhile, a spade, ice scraper and de-icer can help a driver get their car back on the road in next to no time if it encounters a problem, with a fully-charged mobile phone complete with in-car phone charger the easiest way to get in touch with assistance in the case of an emergency.

Rounding out the contents of an emergency kit are a blanket, warm clothes and a selection of food and drink, so that the driver and any passengers can keep snug while waiting for help to arrive.

Julie Townsend, the deputy chief executive of Brake, commented: "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.

"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."

Want to purchase some winter tyres to better handle the harsh conditions? ATS Euromaster has the answer.

Posted by Danielle Barge