Or dust off the toboggan if the snow is as good as in the photo of course…
Why take needless risks on our roads we say.
But we all know there are times we have to venture out in our cars, even in snowy conditions, so the IAM’s common-sense advice from their website is well worth reading in advance and passing on to any one else who you may have to drive as well in bad weather.
+ Make sure your windows are clear and that you have all-round visibility before you set off.
+ Take the time to thoroughly clear your roof and windows of snow.
+ When driving in snow, get your speed right – not too fast that you risk losing control, but not so slow that you risk losing momentum when you need it.
+ Start gently from a stationary position, avoiding high revs. Stay in a higher gear for better control and, if it is slippery, in a manual car move off in a higher gear rather than automatically using first.
+ If you find yourself in a skid, don’t automatically reach for the brake as this could make things worse. Take your foot off the pedals and steer where you can; only use the brake if you cannot steer out of trouble.
+ Double or even triple your normal stopping distance from the vehicle in front so you are not just relying on your brakes to be able to stop. It simply may not happen!
+ When it comes to planning winter trips try to stick to busier roads as they are more likely to have been gritted whereas minor roads, country lanes and housing estates may not have been.
+ Bends are a particular problem in slippery conditions – slow down well before you get to the bend, so that by the time you turn the steering wheel you have lost enough speed to stay in control.
+ On a downhill slope, reduce your speed before you start the descent, and do not let it build up again – it’s much easier to keep it low than to try and slow down once you find conditions are slippery.
But, if the worst does happen:
+ Keep track of where you are. If you do have to call for assistance, you’ll want to tell the breakdown or emergency services your location so they can find you.
+ If you have to leave your vehicle to phone for assistance, find a safe place to stand away from the traffic flow because the next driver could lose control in the same place.
+ On motorways and dual carriageways it is always better to leave your vehicle and stand a short distance behind and to the safe side of it. Don’t stand in front of it given the choice.
Probably needless to say, if you HAVE to venture out in the cold make sure you’re dressed for the occasion with warm and waterproof boots, a hat and gloves, a shovel, blankets, food and drink as well as the compulsory breakdown recovery details, some money and a topped up mobile phone.
You won’t need any of this of course if you simply head off tobogganing so be sure to enjoy the snow if and when it comes to you and before it loses its picturesque fluffy white appeal…