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Lucy F, Bradford UK

Driving in Severe Winter Weather Conditions

Like driving at night, which has its own hazards, Winter is one of the most dangerous times for drivers to be on the road. Accidents happen more often during the winter months than during any other season. Following such basic and common sense actions as reducing speed and increasing follow distance can reduce your odds of being involved in a winter driving accident: You simply avoid many of the dangers of winter driving. It is important to prepare your vehicle for winter driving and to prepare yourself mentally as well. Keeping fit for these special hazards promotes safety even when conditions are most severe.

Driving in Ice and Snow

Heavy snow, slick ice and winter fog are a few of the environmental hazards motorists face during the winter months. Snow, sleet and fog can almost eliminate all visibility, and they make avoiding hazards especially difficult when hazards seemingly pop into view. Ensure your windscreen wipers and defrost unit are in good shape and that non-freezing cleanser fills the reservoir at all times.When driving on snow and ice, use extra caution. Avoid quick braking or accelerating: They cause sliding and spinning. Increase your following distance by as much as 10 times the norm in severe weather. Avoid sharp turns of the steering wheel, for this can lead to losing control of the vehicle. Come to a stop with your tyres pointed forward as well. Turning or swerving harshly can cause uncontrolled spins and skids. When accelerating from a complete stop, allow the car to idle forward before gently pressing on the accelerator pedal.Getting stuck in deep snow needn’t be an emergency situation. Gently turn the steering wheel to and fro to clear snow away from the tyres. Gently press the accelerator while in reverse to ease your way back. If needed, ease forward and back again until you ease yourself away. Carry a shovel and a tarpaulin in the boot of your car as well. Remove the snow from beneath your car, then lay the tarpaulin over the remaining snow and ice. Ease yourself out of the drift, then recover the shovel and tarpaulin. If you do not have these items, a bag of kitty litter or sand can work as well.Winter fog can be especially dangerous. Even without snow and ice, a heavy fog can reduce visibility to almost zero. Whenever possible, avoid driving in heavy fog. Wait until it clears or pull safely off the road. If you must drive, keep your headlights on dim to avoid blinding other drivers. Use your de-misters and wipers to keep your windscreen and windows clear. Tap your brakes well in advance of slowing or stopping to warn other drivers behind you.

Preparing for Winter Driving

Preparation is key and possibly over half the battle in avoiding accidents or emergencies during the winter. Bear in mind that weather can change quickly, and you may encounter snow, ice or fog at virtually any time and do so with little or no warning. Carry a fully charged mobile phone with you whenever possible. Keep your tank as close to full as possible; if nothing else, it helps keep your fuel lines from freezing. Carry a blanket, extra de-icing solution, a torch and a windscreen scraper in your car.driving in severe winter weather conditions. Be aware. Be safe.

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