OSV winter driving advice: Top 6 tips for driving in snow

driving in snow

At the moment, most of Britain has avoided snow this winter. But the cold season has only just started, and snow can – seemingly – strike at any time. It’s imperative that drivers are on their guards at all times and prepared for snowy roads where visibility is poor and dangers are increased. Just because the weather may be unseasonably mild at the moment, it doesn’t mean that snow is not lurking around the corner, ready to pounce. Let’s have a look at how you as a driver should responsibly prepare for driving in snow.

1. Check The Forecast

Firstly, we can’t stress enough the value of frequently checking the weather reports. This doesn’t mean that you need to obsess over the weather, but a little knowledge goes a long way. For example, if you’re heading out on a long journey from the south of the country to the north, it may be that the weather in the south is dry, sunny and even a little warm. This doesn’t account for changeable weather in the north. You might get 400 miles up the country to find thick snow on the ground. Always be prepared, always be checking the forecast so that you aren’t caught short by any nasty surprises.

2. Plan Your Journey

If you know that you’re going to be driving in snow, and you simply have to plough ahead, it’s advisable that you carefully plan your journey so that you aren’t going to be driving up underused and neglected lanes where the grit machine hasn’t journeyed down. Stick to busy roads and use a Sat-Nav to make sure that you don’t traverse down some darkened roads where visibility is poor and where there is a good chance you may get lost.

3. Pack Equipment

As well as planning your journey, it’s a good idea to pack adequate equipment and resources before heading out into the snow. In the event of things turning really nasty, you need to have safety equipment on hand. Extra food and drink is also recommended in the event that your journey will be extended by several hours owing to bad conditions.

4. Clear Your Car Thoroughly

If your area has experienced heavy snowfall overnight, and you confront a snow-covered car in the morning, you need to make sure that you remove all snow from your vehicle. If you casually clean up your car, and leave debris of white snow on the roof, there is a high risk that thick chunks will fall onto your windscreen whilst you’re driving, leading to obscured visibility. This is dangerous and is something which can easily be avoided.

5. Adjust Your Speed

Although it sounds obvious, we cannot stress enough that you have to adjust your driving when it’s snowing. If you drive too quickly, there is a good chance that you’ll lose control of the vehicle, thus putting everyone in danger. On the flip side, if you drive too cautiously, you will find it hard to pick up momentum when confronted with a slope. You need to carefully find the right balance with your driving.

6. Slow Down

When approaching a bend, you need to give yourself much more time to slow down than usual. This is important because the amount of time you will have to react to hazards is much less in the snow. Moreover, if you approach a bend too quickly, there is a chance your car will skid and swerve, which can lead to total loss of control of the vehicle.

Ultimately, when driving in snow you need to be prepared. If you aren’t prepared, and have inadequate knowledge of what driving in bad conditions means, your journey could end up taking much much longer than you’d like.

Will Titterington
  • 29th December 2014

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