February may be coming to an end, but the weather is set to get even colder.
Further cold weather is on its way to the north-east, bringing with it an enhanced risk of fog, snow, ice and frost.
With the bad weather looming, it’s important to know how to manage your car in extreme conditions. Severe winter conditions can cause utter chaos and make roads incredibly dangerous.
Here are some tips and tricks to stay safe if the weather turns.
Driving on Rural Roads
Before braving the snow, it is important to ask yourself if the journey is truly necessary. Only drive when it is essential! If this is the case, make sure to plan your journey and keep an eye on the weather to being caught out.
Gritter lorries usually treat roads with grit. However, minor routes and rural areas may not be gritted, so be cautious if you intend to go off the main road.
The cold weather can also influence the roads themselves, with some surfaces becoming broken and fractured.
Preparing your car for the cold
The cold weather can escalate any underlying issues that might be affecting your vehicle, so it’s vital that before setting off that your car is fully functional.
The RAC recommends using the acronym FORCES when carrying out evaluations of your car. This stands for:
Make sure your car is well-stocked for the cold weather. Essential items such as a de-icer and an ice scraper can go a long way. Even items such as shovels can be beneficial, especially on rural roads where drifts of snow may accumulate.
If you’re venturing on longer journeys, make sure to pack items of warm clothing. It may seem paranoid, but you’ll be grateful for that cosy jumper if you get stranded at the side of a snowy road.
Driving in snow and ice
If you need to drive in the snow, make sure you clear all the snow and ice from your window. Failing to do so could result in a fine as you could be endangering other drivers.
Drive carefully and maintain a suitable stopping distance, these will need to be larger than in dry, warm conditions. Should you begin to skid, steer into it and don’t use the brakes heavily.
When accelerating, be gentle, use low revs and make sure that all your driving controls are operated smoothly and slowly.
Also, ensure that you are seen by using dipped headlights and if visibility is reduced to less than 100m, then use your fog lights.
On ice, tyre grip is greatly reduced, so braking will take longer, make sure to leave plenty of space between you and the vehicle in front.
If you get stranded in the snow!
As previously stated, be sure to pack an emergency kit that includes de-icer and an ice scraper, a torch, warm clothing and boots, a first aid kit, jump leads and a shovel. Consider also taking warm drinks and food in case you get stuck for a long period of time.
If you can, use a snow shovel to dig the snow from under your tyres and clear the exhaust pipe of snow. Try and keep your wheels straight and avoid any wheel spin if possible. You can also try to use de-icing salt under your wheels.
If you can’t get your car to move, make sure to call a breakdown service, then stay in your car and stay warm until help arrives.
Get your car ready for winter conditions with I&K Motors.