The latest weather forecast is projecting an extremely cold spell for most of the UK with snow falls and flurries falling in some areas. This always has an impact on breakdown services, so the AA have offered us the following advice.
Only travel if necessary and if there is a need to travel take all appropriate precautions for yourselves and ensure the vehicle is in full working order.
Before you set off:
• Allow extra time for winter journeys
• Plan routes around major roads, which are more likely to be cleared and gritted
• Try to get up at least 10 minutes early to give you time to de-ice the vehicle
• Wear comfortable, dry shoes for driving so your feet don’t slip on the pedals
• Check fuel and electric levels in case of unexpected delays
• Clear all windows using a scraper and de-icer and wait until the windscreen’s fully demisted
• If you drive an automatic, check the handbook – some have a winter mode or recommend selecting ‘2’ in slippery conditions
Driving on winter roads:
• If you have to use your brakes, apply them gently
• Driving uphill – leave plenty of room between other cars or wait until it’s clear so you don’t have to stop part way up. Keep a constant speed and try to avoid having to change gear on the hill.
• Driving downhill – slow down before the hill, try to avoid braking. Leave as much room as you can after the car in front.
If you get stuck in snow or ice:
• If you get stuck, straighten the steering and clear the snow from the wheels
• Put sack, old rug or even your car mats in front of the driving wheels to give the tyres some grip
There are a few essentials you should keep in your vehicle when you’re driving in winter. These will help you deal with ice, snow and dark winter nights.
• Ice scraper
• De-icer, Torch and spare batteries (if required)
• First aid kit
You should also keep a fully-charged mobile phone and power bank. That way you can let friends or relatives know if your journey’s taking longer than usual or call for help in an emergency.
No matter how safely you drive, there’s still a chance you could get stuck somewhere in poor weather. Pack a winter emergency kit just in case. That way you’ll be prepared for a long wait in the cold. Here’s what to include:
• Warm clothes, waterproofs and high-vis jackets
• Sturdy footwear
• Hot drinks and snacks
• Jump leads
• Warning flares or triangles