Top tips for safe winter driving
1. Drive slow — Speed limits indicate the maximum speed that should be travelled on that type of road. Depending on the type of vehicle you are driving and the current weather conditions, you may need to slow down.
2. Allow extra space — Stopping distances can increase to more than double during bad weather. Maintaining a safe distance from the vehicle in front allows more time to plan and brake as required.
3. Driving in fog — Before entering fog, it’s important to switch fog lights on, check your mirrors and slow down. Fog creates low levels of visibility, so remember to stay cautious of other drivers who may not be using headlights and keep a safe distance behind the vehicle in front.
4. Loss of control — If the steering becomes unresponsive, it is likely that the tyres don’t have enough grip on the road. The best way to deal with this is to ease off the accelerator and slow down gradually. You should switch to winter tyres before the winter period, to increase the amount of grip you have while driving.
5. Driving on ice — When the temperature drops towards freezing, be wary of black ice. Drive slowly and avoid breaking where possible as this can cause the car to spin out of control.
6. Know when to stop — If visibility becomes extremely poor, drive carefully until it is safe to stop at a nearby petrol station, service station or safe location (such as a lay-by) until visibility increases. Avoid the hard shoulder as the chances of an incident occurring there are much higher in the winter months.
7. How to drive in snow — If your car gets stuck while driving in snow, take your foot off the accelerator and avoid spinning your tires. Instead, try the rocking manoeuvre which might give you enough momentum to drive out.
8. The highway code — Ensure that you consult the Highway Code which applies in England, Scotland and Wales, or the Highway Code for Northern Ireland and see rules 226 to 237 for further advice on driving in adverse weather conditions.