How to drive safely in cold weather

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The UK is expected to be plunged into chilly temperatures next week, with weather warnings already issued for large parts of the country.

Cold weather will bring a greater chance of ice and snow on the roads, making driving conditions more difficult as a result.

So how can you make sure you are as safe as possible when out on the roads in these conditions?

We’ve got some tips.

– Make sure your car is thoroughly defrosted

Cars covered with snow amid cold weather (David Cheskin/PA)
Cars should be cleared of snow and ice before journeys are made (PA)

If there is any snow on your vehicle, that needs to be completely removed too. Snow left on a car’s roof can go hard and fly off when on the move, potentially causing an issue for motorists behind.

– Do not leave your vehicle unattended to warm up

Though it might be tempting to start your car’s engine and head back inside while the car defrosts, it should be avoided. You should always stay with your vehicle while it is in operation.

Leaving your car running on its own leaves you open to potential theft and some insurers might not pay out if they find out you left the car running while unattended.

– Take your time

Snowy road
Drivers have been urged to give themselves extra time during bad weather (GEM Motoring Assist/AP)

So slow down and give yourself plenty of time to make your journey.

– Leave extra space

Ice and snow seriously hamper a car’s ability to slow down effectively so you should definitely be leaving more space between yourself and the vehicle in front. It gives you more time to brake should the car ahead of you start to slow down.

Giving extra space also means traffic can move more continuously.

– Stick to major roads

Winter weather Dec 18th 2022
Main roads are more likely to have been gritted (PA)

So if you do need to travel, try and stick to these major roads.

– Do not brake on ice

Ice brings a whole different aspect to driving. Particularly in the UK, ‘black’ ice can prove to be quite the problem and can cause a car to slide or skid unexpectedly. If you notice your car begin to slide, do not be tempted to apply the brakes as this can exaggerate the problem. Try to keep your steering straight too because if you turn it and the car regains traction, it could shoot you off in another direction.

Try to maintain your speed and, essentially, do not make any sudden movements that could unsettle the car and cause you to crash.

– If there is any doubt, stay at home

One of the easiest ways to stay safe is to avoid travel if you think the conditions make driving too dangerous. If there is snow or ice about, then think about whether you actually need to travel and make a decision based on that.

It is also a lot less stressful than trying to battle through poor conditions.

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