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How to Make your Car Safe in Adverse Weather Conditions

By: Simon McBride - Updated: 19 Aug 2012 | comments*Discuss
Car Weather Conditions Weather Car

You will usually have adverse weather conditions in the winter months but in the UK there are numerous outcomes, they can be wet, icy or even snowy.

Driving to the road conditions is a matter of course and when you are driving in adverse conditions, precaution must be taken. It is advisable to slow up and change your driving style to suit the conditions that prevail.

Wet Weather

In the wet you should drive with more care and attention than you would usually take in the dry. You should increase the gaps between you and the vehicle in front as you will not have the grip that you would have had in the dry.

  • Make sure that you give the vehicle in front more than double the room you would normally give. This will increase your thinking and reaction times.
  • If the steering on your cars becomes unresponsive this may be because your car is aquaplaning. Avoid braking, clutch down and only until you can feel response from the steering wheel begin slowing down gently to regain control.
  • Wet conditions reduce your visibility and the visibility of other road users. Make sure you switch your lights on if driving in wet weather.

Snowy or Icy Weather

In snowy or icy conditions caution must be used when on the road.

  • Try to rearrange your journey if snow and ice is forecast as the roads are at their most dangerous at this time.
  • If your journey is a necessity then make sure that you are prepared for the worst possible outcome. Load the boot with warm and high visibility clothes. You should also pack food, water, boots, a torch and spade.
  • Whether you are travelling with a group or on your own tell someone at your destination what time you will be turning up and the route you are going to take.
  • Make sure your mobile is also fully charged before you leave.
  • Make sure you lay grit on your drive so that you can get extra grip before you try to take off.
  • Slow down, your stopping distance could increase by 10 times in icy or snowy conditions.
  • Drive in the highest gear possible to avoid wheel spin.
  • Do not make sudden movements.
  • Make manoeuvres in a smooth way and avoid using the accelerator and brake in a rough manner.
  • If you need to slow your car by using the brake then it is advised to pump the brake pedal rather than slamming it on. Slamming it on will only lock the wheels and put your vehicle into a slide. Bear in mind however, that cars with Anti-lock Braking Systems (ABS) fitted, should in theory prevent wheels from locking, allowing you to continue steering
  • If you get stuck, you should stay with your car and put a reflective material such as a jacket on the ariel of your car to let other road users know that you are stuck and help is needed.
  • Use your headlights when driving in snowy conditions but do not use foglights unless in blizzard condition or when driving in fog. Fog lights must be switched off when the visibility improves.
  • A vital part of car safety in wintry conditions is to keep your windscreen clear of all times – free from frost and snow.

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