As a WAV driver, you have an added responsibility to stay safe and in control every time you’re behind the wheel – a task that is made a lot harder in thick snow, rendering the grip on your tires questionable at best and your vision compromised. We’ve come up with a list of things you need to remember.
Before you start your car:
- Check the weather forecast – it’s vital to stay on top of the weather and ensure that you aren’t caught un-expectantly in a blizzard.
- Check your emergency equipment – reflexive vest, flares, shovel, spare tire, torches and a life jacket. It sounds a little excessive, but it’s definitely better safe than sorry.
- Check your tires, windscreen wipers, heaters and lights.
- Before you load up the car, prepare: warm up the car, remove snow and ice from the roof and windows, and ensure your number plate and all your lights are visible.
During the journey:
- Remember that other drivers can see as little as you can, so be extra careful of other vehicles.
- Your following distance and stopping distance are hugely affected by snowy and icy weather, so ensure you leave extra room and time to slow down.
- As your visibility decreases, your reaction time increases, as it takes you longer to recognise a hazard – be wary of this throughout the whole drive.
- Do not rely on four-wheel drive. Whether or not four-wheel drive really works is questionable, and therefore makes it even more of a mistake to rely on it – be wary at all times.
- Do not be in a hurry, always drive slower than you think is necessary.
- Try to accelerate and decelerate at an even pace – sudden starts or stops are when you’re most likely to skid.
- Never talk on the phone. This rule applies to all weather conditions, but it is worth mentioning that with all the added difficulties that accompany snowy weather, it would be hugely irresponsible to use the phone while driving in these conditions.
- Be prepared to have to change a tyre – make sure you have the knowhow to do it yourself in a worst case scenario.
- If you need to warn other road users of your presence, don’t be afraid to use your horn.
- Never stop going up a hill, but don’t power up them either – get your speed up before you reach the hill in order for inertia to take you all the way up.
- When doing down an icy or snowy hill, use your gears to downshift.
Hopefully this list of tips will be helpful to bear in mind during the winter season.
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