Later this week, the UK is expecting another bout of cold weather. Just as we thought Spring was upon us, with some parts of the UK reaching the giddy heights of 14°C, the weather forecast has taken a turn for the worst. As such, the following guide (released by the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM)) may be helpful for those drivers who didn’t fare quite as well several weeks ago.
The first bit of advice is – avoid travelling unless absolutely necessary – which will be of scant use to those whose job it is to drive. The following however may be of some use:
– Prepare: Make sure all your windows are clear and your lights work. Clear the roof of snow, as you don’t want to be driving with snow falling and obstructing your vision – it’s not particularly aerodynamic either.
– Don’t drive too fast, but also not too slowly. Driving fast is obviously dangerous as you’ll have less traction in the snow, but driving slowly may risk you losing momentum all together leaving you stranded.
– When departing, be gentle and avoid harsh revving. A higher gear will help with control and avoid wheel spinning.
– Avoid your wheels from locking: If you need to stop, try and avoid using the brakes as they won’t work. Steer, keep your feet off the pedals and only use the brake if absolutely necessary.
– As you are driving in the snow, you will find that your stopping distance will be doubled or tripled. Keep your distance!
– Slow down on corners as they can be slippery. If you try and corner too quickly you will simply drift – into a hedge, a wall or possibly oncoming traffic if you are unlucky.
– Tackle hills with respect or avoid them if possible. Use a high gear, and be vigilant.
– Keep a charged phone and make sure you do have a break down/recovery number to hand.
– Bring supplies and equipment to get yourself out of sticky situations. This may include snow chains, spades, rags (to place in front of wheels to get out of snowed in situations). It may be worth bringing a blanket too to keep warm!
– Ensure you have the necessary commercial vehicle insurance and that it provides you with breakdown cover too!