Ice and snow, take it slow

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Essential tips for driving in ice and snow from SIMI

With the cold weather set to continue, the SIMI is urging all motorists to take extreme care on our icy roads by taking on board these simple tips.

Before you begin your journey
·         Check local weather and traffic reports
·         Plan your route on major roads were possible as these are more likely to have been gritted

Checks:
Tyres
–          It is important that your tyre pressure is correct as tyre pressure decreases in colder weather and this affects traction. Check your tyre pressure when tyres are cold so that they correspond to your manufacturer’s specifications (found in manual or door pillar)
–          Ideally tread depth should be in the region of 3mm as deeper tread depth is more effective in clearing water on the roads

Windows
–          Don’t use water to defrost your windows. Hot water can crack your screen and it will just re–freeze as it cools, either on the screen or on the ground where you’re standing, which could prove dangerous. Use a scraper and de-icer  instead.
–          Make sure wipers are in good condition and use screenwash with the proper additive, washing up liquid will foam up and can reduce visibility.

Lights
–          Check that all your lights are working and make sure your headlights are properly aimed
–          Clear any dirt or snow from headlights

Fuel
–          Make sure you have plenty of fuel as you may need to reroute

Driving safely on icy roads
–          Ensure your headlights are on
–          Pull off in second gear
–          Don’t tailgate – stopping distances are 10 times longer in ice/snow
–          Avoid overtaking
–          When driving on the flat, stay in the highest gear possible
–          When driving downhill, choose 3rd or 4th gear
–          Be particularly careful on tree-lined roads. Trees prevent the sun’s rays from reaching the road which could be still icy when everywhere else has thawed. Also, black ice is common in shaded areas
–          Reduce speed on turns to prevent skidding
–          If you are skidding/spinning, gently turn the wheel in the same direction as the skid
–          If you see an icy patch ahead, brake before it
–          
Is your car front or rear wheel drive?
–          Front-wheel drives handle better in ice and snow
–          Rear-wheel drives can result in excessive sliding on corners

ABS/no ABS?
–          ABS will automatically prevent wheels from locking
–          If you do not have ABS, gently but rapidly pump the brakes when the road is slippery
–          Do not ‘jam’ on your brakes if you begin to slide as it may cause your wheels to lock and your car to spin

Winter car survival kit
Hi-vis vest
Map
Phone
Phone charger
Tow rope
Warning triangle
Jump leads
Torch
Fuel can
Ice scraper
De-icer
Warm clothes and a hat – you can lose up to 60% of your body heat through your head
Bag of salt to grit road if particularly bad
Some food