Despite spring being well and truly underway, the great British weather is rearing its ugly head once more with many regions experiencing snow, ice, high winds and heavy rain, conditions that should be exclusive to the autumn and winter months. Regardless of a driver’s age or experience, taking on journeys long and short in these testing conditions still fills many with apprehension, but with the right advice you can stay safe whatever Mother Nature throws at you.
Snow, ice and hail are still very much real world problems for UK drivers, even in March, and ensuring that you and your vehicle are prepared for these particular eventualities is integral to staying safe. As the saying goes ‘preparation makes perfect’ so take note of your tyre tread; tyres with low tread will not grip sufficiently to the road, particularly in snowy or icy conditions. Arrange a tyre replacement or switch to winter tyres with a deeper tread for extra peace of mind.
Making sure you have everything you need to keep the windows and mirrors of your vehicle clear from snow is also important. Invest in a high quality screenwash, take time to de-ice your car before you set off and remove snow from the roof of your vehicle to enable good visibility at every leg of your journey. Adjusting the way you drive is also highly recommended; gentle acceleration, low revs and switching to a higher gear sooner rather than later is the call of the day. If you do enter a skid, keep calm and steer into it, keeping your hands firmly on the steering wheel and avoiding heavy braking.
Foggy weather conditions are particularly hazardous, after all without a good level of visibility how can you anticipate dangers on the road and effectively reduce risk. Using your fog lights will be your first port of call but as the Highway Code states these must only be used when visibility is less than 100 metres. Take extra care when switching on your fog lights, many drivers often confuse these with the full beam setting. In addition to this, keeping headlights dipped throughout your journey and following the two-second rule will ensure you have enough time to stop and steer smoothly and safely.
Wind and rain
We’re not talking a light bluster or shower here, high winds and heavy rain plague many parts of the UK and operating your vehicle with these conditions in mind is more important than ever, especially when driving in exposed areas. Adjust your speed to ensure the vehicle can be correctly and confidently handled, exercising extra caution around cyclists, motorcyclists, lorries and buses, vehicle types that will require more room to manoeuvre in side winds, high cross winds, torrential rain and deep water.