Storm Gladys 2022: snow driving tips – how to prepare yourself and your car for the cold and keep yourself safe

After a big storm, Dudley, Eunice and FranklinThe UK is now preparing for the expected arrival Storm Gladys.

Stormy weather has already hit parts of the country, with high wind, snow and yellow warnings in place for Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Snow is already causing problems on the roads, and slippery conditions lead to traffic jams and accidents.

To help you deal with winter weather, here are our tips on how to prepare for snow driving and what to do if you start to lose control.

Prepare your car

Before you drive in bad weather, make sure your vehicle is in top condition.

Make sure all your headlights are working, your tires are properly inflated and have good tread, and you’ve filled your windscreen washer with decent fluid that will work in sub-zero temperatures.

If your vehicle is covered in snow or ice, be sure to clear it of everything before driving away. Resist the temptation to simply clean the windshield patch. Not only is this illegal, but it will leave you with limited visibility, which is bad for your safety or the safety of other road users.

Assemble an emergency kit

Snow, ice and general bad weather increase the chances of getting into a traffic jam or an accident, so it’s important to be prepared for a long wait in the car.

Always leave a bag with a few essentials in the car. Important items include a warm coat, sturdy shoes, a reflective jacket, and a blanket. You should also bring a torch, snacks and drinks with you in case you run into a long delay. A folding shovel and even scraps of old carpet can come in handy if you get stuck in snow or slippery surfaces.

Plan your trip

If it is snowing or raining heavily, it is best to refrain from traveling if possible. However, if you have to go outside, plan your trip carefully and expect it to take longer than usual.

Check your trip reports regularly for delays or road closures and try to avoid smaller, less used roads as they are less likely to be sanded or cleared of snow than main routes.

You also need to make sure your vehicle has enough fuel/charge, as well as make sure your cell phone is charged, just in case you get stuck.

Driving in the snow

When you’re on the road, it’s important to take your time and stay in control.

Remember that braking distances can be up to 10 times longer than on dry roads and that sudden jerks can cause you to lose control on slippery roads.

Slow down and leave more clearance from other vehicles. Keep an eye on what other cars are doing and give them enough space so you don’t have to slow down or steer unnecessarily.

Try to smoothly accelerate, brake and steer, keeping efforts to a minimum. The less you shift gears, brake or stop, and the more time you have to maneuver, the less likely you are to get stuck or have an accident.

Watch for potentially difficult surfaces such as puddles, patches of ice, or drifts of snow, and give yourself plenty of time to maneuver around them.

Skid control

Even if you’re careful, there’s always a chance that a patch of black ice or other treacherous surface can catch you off guard and send your car out of control.

If you feel like your car is slipping, try to remain calm, take your foot off the accelerator pedal, and depress the clutch, but don’t apply the brakes, as this may aggravate the skid.

In modern vehicles with stability control systems, you must hold the steering wheel and let the car’s electronics bring it back under control.

In older vehicles without such systems, you may have to steer if the rear wheels slip. If the front wheels slip, turning them slightly in the opposite direction before returning to the correct turn line, this can sometimes help them find extra traction.

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