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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.

Safer Driving


Snow & Ice

Snow and ice effect the handling of the vehicle as with mud and rain except they are even more slippery and dangerous.
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.
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 our guidelines.

• 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 or accelerating.
• 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 clear.
In deep drifts opening your window slightly will aloow warm airt to escape over your roof which will melt the snow and keep it clear.

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