Legal guide to UK motoring, sections for law enforcement, Driver licensing, learner and new drivers, buying and selling, speeding fines, owning a vehicle, wheel clamping, traffic information.
Snow is particularly dangerous to british drivers because of
it rarity. We do not expect it, do not prepare for it and everything
usually grinds to a halt when it happens every year.
Snow and ice effect the handling of the vehicle as with
mud and rain except they are even more slippery and dangerous.
If the roads have been gritted then conditions will be better
but if not the first layer of snow can be very dangerous. Snow
compacts and freezes forming a very hard a slippery layer hazardous
to most vehicles.
Ice is even more dangerous since its harder to spot. Also ice
can hang around even after the temperature has risen. Watch
out for shaded spots as the temperature in a shaded area may
still be freezing even on a seemingly sunny day. You can obtain
ice alerts from most auto factors and some cars are fitted with
outside temerature displays.
Driving in such hazardous conditions can be made safer by following
Clear all snow and ice from your windows before you attempt
to drive. Do not be tempted to put a kettle of hot water over
them since this can cause them to shatter. De-icer is best or
tepid water should be used to clear all snow and ice which could
obscure your vision.
Check your vehicles ability to stop by testing the brakes
in a quiet safe place. If you ABS then you might here this activating
(Juddering from the pedal). If you don't have ABS then you will
notice the steering go very light when traction to the front
wheels is lost.
Take more care at corners and bends where the vehicle
is more likely to skid. Skids usually tend to be in a straight
line but can follow the camber of the road.
Try to do most of your braking in a straight line before
you get to a corner.
Drive more sedately and smoothly. Avoid any harsh braking
If your car is front wheel drive then try turning the
wheel slightly side to side as you apply a small amount of throttle
to help traction should you become stuck.
If you become stranded in the snow then you should stay
in your vehicle unless there is shelter close by. Keep the engine
running and leave the heaters on. Make sure your exhaust remains
In deep drifts opening your window slightly will aloow warm
airt to escape over your roof which will melt the snow and keep