Stay Safe on the Roads

TIPS FOR WINTER DRIVING

You've prepped your car to ensure it's fit to handle the snow and ice. But there's another key factor to consider when heading out on to the slippery stuff - you. Featured here are some basic but extremely important techniques to help you make it to your destination safely.

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TIPS FOR WINTER DRIVING

It's best not to wear thick gloves when driving because valuable feedback can often be felt through the steering wheel about what is going on under the front wheels.

Big, clunky boots can also make it difficult to move your foot from one pedal to the other and to feel the tell-tale ABS 'judder' kicking in through the brake pedal. Car-driver feedback is vital in snowy conditions so turn on the heating, wait for your car to warm up and then whip off your gloves and put on some normal shoes.

Trying to move off in first gear on snow will inevitably leave the wheels spinning so set off in second gear, slowly lifting your foot from the clutch pedal. For automatics, check to see if your car has a 'winter' mode that disengages first gear altogether. If not, then select '2' on your auto gearbox.

Always leave a gap of two to three car lengths for every 10mph you are going. So if travelling at 30mph, you should leave a gap of six to nine car lengths between you and the vehicle in front.

Drive slowly and at a constant speed where possible. If you find yourself heading towards a hill, do your level best not to stop while ascending. To reduce the risk, wait near the foot of the hill for any traffic coming down to pass. If descending a hill, choose a low gear before heading down and leave the brake and accelerator alone where possible.

If you must brake, don't stamp on the anchors - you will simply slide. Better to gently apply the brakes and if you find you are still slipping, release, de-clutch and apply again. If still no joy, try tapping the brake pedal gently while declutched to come to a gradual but controlled stop.

If the worse should happen and you find yourself skidding, don't panic; turn into the skid (if skidding to left, turn to the left) until it has stopped before gently turning in the direction you want to go.

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