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Winter Driving Tips

Driving through ice and snow

Your stopping distance is increased ten times when driving in snow and ice
Select second gear when pulling away, easing your foot off the clutch gently to avoid wheel-spin
It is not always obvious that the road is icy. Look for clues such as ice on the pavement or on your windscreen. If your tyres are making virtually no noise on the road, it could be a sign that you are driving on ice

Do not brake heavily - it will just lock your wheels and you will skid further, consider changing to a lower gear
Clear any snow on the roof of the vehicle before you drive off. It can slip down over the windscreen and obscure your view
iIn severe cold or snowy conditions, look out for winter service vehicles spreading salt or using snow ploughs. They will have flashing amber beacons and will be travelling at slower speeds - around 40 mph. Stay well back because salt or spray is thrown across the road. Don't overtake unless it is safe to do so - there may be uncleared snow on the road ahead

Driving in the rain

When the road's wet, it can take twice as long to stop. So it makes sense to slow down and maintain a safe distance from the vehicle in front
If your vehicle loses its grip, or "aquaplanes" on surface water take your foot off the accelerator to slow down. Do not brake or steer suddenly because you have no control of the steering or brakes

Floods

Try to avoid driving through surface water as you might fl ood your engine. Avoid the deepest water which is usually nearest the kerb.
If you have to drive through fl oods, drive slowly using fi rst gear and try to keep the engine revving at a high rate. Move forward continuously to avoid stalling the engine. If driving an automatic vehicle, engage and hold in a low gear
check your mirror and test your brakes after driving through water, to make sure they are still working properly

Driving in windy weather

Take extra care on the roads and plan your journeys by checking the latest weather conditions
High-sided vehicles are particularly affected by windy weather but strong gusts can also blow a smaller vehicle, cyclist, motorcyclist or horse rider off course. This can happen on open stretches of road exposed to strong crosswinds, or when passing bridges, high-sided vehicles or gaps in trees

Driving with a low sun

Dazzle from sun can be dangerous. Keep a pair of sunglasses (prescription if needed) in the vehicle all year round and make sure you keep your windscreen clean. Wear your sunglasses in bright sunshine, especially if the sun is low or refl ecting off a wet road

Driving in fog

Drive very slowly using dipped headlights so other drivers can see you
If it is really foggy (less than 100m visibility), then switch your fog lights and rear high-intensity lights on. Remember to switch them off when visibility improves
Do not hang on the tail-lights of the vehicle in front. This gives you a false sense of security and means you may be driving too close
fog is often patchy so try not to speed up as visibility improves. You could suddenly fi nd yourself back in thick fog further up the road

Darker evenings and mornings

Switch on lights as soon as it starts to get dark
In urban areas use dipped headlights. Use full beam on other roads at night but dip them when there is someone in front or coming towards you
Be aware that pedestrians are harder to spot in the dark and may not be visible until they are very close. In particular, take care when driving near schools and in residential areas, where children may be walking and cycling. These road users are very vulnerable as they are both hard to spot in the dark and may act unpredictably. Slow right down to 20mph. If you hit someone at this speed they have more than a nine in ten chance of survival, compared with about a 50/50 chance at 30mph



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