Tag Archive | "GEM"

Driving in Winter


Though snow is a reasonably unusual occurrence in the UK, we all know it’s going to happen sooner or later during the winter. It still doesn’t stop it from being a bit of a surprise when it does arrive! Here are some tips from car safety charity GEM about how to prepare for winter journeys, and for driving in winter weather.

Maintenance:

• Have your car looked over by a professional and sure that your brakes are in tip top condition
• Check oil and water levels regularly
• Keep a bottle of water in the car to top up your windscreen washer in an emergency

Always keep in the car:

• High-vis clothes
• Ice scraper and de-icer
• Cash
• Torch and batteries
• Food and drink – chocolate bars, nuts, flask for a hot drink, plus bottled water
• Sunglasses in case of glare from the snow

Things to watch out for on the road

If driving in the snow, you should always evaluate the need for your journey. If it’s not essential, don’t drive.

Aquaplaning
Also known as hydroplaning, this is when water builds between the tyres of a vehicle and the surface of the road, which reduces traction – so make sure you have plenty of tread depth and your tyre pressure is correct.

Black Ice
When ice forms over the road it’s sometimes impossible to see. Stopping on ice can take up to 9 times longer than usual, so be aware of this and alter your speeds accordingly. Make sure your brakes are in good working order.

What to do if you get stuck in snow

• Try and manoeuvre your car to the side of the road and come to a stop.

• Always stay with your car as it will protect you from the elements, unless you are extremely close to buildings with people inside.

• Keep the exhaust pipe unblocked so that if you need to run the engine to keep warm, there is no danger of carbon monoxide build up.

• Try and clear snow from your roof and hood so that it can be easily seen, or put something brightly coloured on top for visibility.

For even more advice on driving in winter – such as driving overseas and in mountainous territory, download the free GEM Winter Driving eBook.

Vivienne Egan writes for GEM

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