Preparing For Winter Driving
Driving in Snow & Ice
• Its worth preparing for winter driving by knowing your stopping distances and are increased by up to 10 times than in the dry – so leave plenty of space and distance in front!
• If your car starts to skid, don’t brake, instead press the clutch and steer into the skid, braking will exaggerate the skid making it worse.
• Reduce the risk of skidding by driving slowly for the conditions as too much speed can be the cause of a skid happening.
• By selecting second gear to move away in heavy snow or icy conditions it will prevent wheel spin happening. If you’re driving an automatic car use the ‘Winter’ mode if it’s fitted.
• Always park your vehicle in a safe, legal and convenient place to no prevent causing an obstruction to snow ploughs, gritters and the emergency services.
• If you find the tyres are making hardly any noise you could be driving on ‘black ice’ do not make any sudden steering or braking to prevent skidding.
• See where it has become frosty, such as frost forming on footpaths and parked cars and clear any frost on the vehicle before driving off.
• Look out for pedestrians that may be using the road as footpaths have not been cleared of snow/ice etc
Driving in Heavy Rain
• Use your headlights when visibility is below 100 metres, fog lights may also be used when visibility is seriously reduced but do remember to switch them off again when visibility starts to improve.
• Stopping distances will be increased to double, so leave a 4 second gap between you and the vehicle in front.
• If the steering becomes unresponsive, ease off the gas gently to slow down you may be aquaplaning through the deep puddles from the surface rain you’re driving through.
Driving in Floods & Standing Water
• Never drive through water that you don’t know the depth of as water can be deeper than it looks or be very fast moving. Your vehicle may be swept away very quickly putting it into danger, it only takes about 2 feet of water to make your vehicle float and difficult to control!
• When you drive through deep puddles or standing water reduce your speed before the hazard, a slow steady speed in 1st gear is best for control. If water gets into the engine it will destroy it and cause mechanical failure.
• Be aware and take care when pedestrians or cyclists are standing or waiting by the curb side to not soak them from surface spray.
• After driving through standing water you should test your brakes as soon as possible for functionality. Do not continue driving if brakes become very unresponsive from flooding water.
Driving lessons in bad weather are the most important driving lessons you can take. Therefore try to not cancel your lessons due to bad weather, unless it is essential for safety to not drive. Learning in these conditions is invaluable and could save your life after passing your test!