Driving in the snow and ice strikes the fear of God in to most motorists. While everyone under the age of 11 loves the snow, having snowball fights and practising their snow angels, the rest of the nation – especially those who must drive to work – is praying the snow stays well away.
Unfortunately, this is winter and snow and ice and the winter months come hand in hand. Last year the country was brought to a standstill by the Beast From The East. While areas of Europe have succumbed to the Beast’s offspring, the UK has escaped relatively lightly. We saw a slight flurry of snow showers in late January, but there are fears more wintry conditions are on the way.
With that in mind, we have created this blog post on winter driving, packed full of winter driving tips about the best way to drive in snow, advice on how to drive in icy conditions and what you should do when driving in heavy snow.
Winter Driving Tips
The most important aspect for any driver taking to the roads in sub zero conditions is to be prepared. The British weather can change at the drop of the hat. One minute it could be clear and sunny, the next we could be under a blanket of snow. Our advice is to always listen to the weather forecast and plan for the worst.
Make sure you always carry a shovel, warm clothes, a phone charger, food and drink. We have all heard the stories of drivers being stuck in the snow overnight due to a string of accidents or the roads not being gritted properly. It frequently happens in this country. Make sure you are ready for anything.
When pulling off in the ice always use a higher gear to give your vehicle the traction needed to get moving. The last thing you want to do while behind the wheel of a Scania Flatbed is to start spinning. And stay in as high as gear as possible when driving in the snow to ensure your vehicle keeps momentum.
The best way to drive in snow is to reduce your speed, maintain a safe distance from those ahead of you and stay alert. Before you set out plan your route in advance. If you know your destination is experiencing heavy snow fall or you must drive through an area that’s been badly hit by icy conditions, make a detour. Avoid areas with steep hills as driving uphill in snow can be treacherous and stay away from the B roads as they may not have been treated.
Reduce Your Speed
Winter driving can be tricky at the best of times, as the frosty mornings and dark nights take their toll on weary drivers. But when driving in icy conditions you must reduce your speed. The road may look fine, but the threat of black ice may rear its ugly head at any time – and when that happens the consequences could be devastating. Take your foot off the gas. This will improve your braking time if the traffic ahead suddenly draws to a halt and reduce the amount of damage caused if an accident is unavoidable.
As a responsible driver of a DAF beavertail or a Volvo tipper truck you are always aware of your surroundings. However, it’s even more vital when driving in the snow and ice that you remain alert and drive smoothly. If you spot a motorist getting into difficulties, put your hazards on to warn other drivers to be careful. And if you are driving in heavy snow, dip your lights to make your visibility clearer.
Avoid sudden braking or accelerating and if you do feel your vehicle skidding on the ice, take your foot off the pedal and steer into the skid. When approaching junctions and slowing down, go down the gears and pump the brakes, do not slam them on.
If you do find yourself stuck in the snow, don’t panic. With that shovel you packed for emergencies, you can clear the snow from under your wheels, giving you the traction needed to get moving again. Alternatively, you could try and move your truck in a high gear or switch between reverse and forward gears in order to give you the momentum to move.
Perhaps the most important piece of advice we can offer on how to drive in snow and ice is to only hit the road when it’s safe. Watch out for the yellow, amber and red weather warnings and if the authorities are urging you to stay off the road, listen to them. Don’t try and be a hero and plough on through the snow and ice. Stay safe. Let the authorities clear the roads and resume your duties when the conditions have improved.
Mac’s Trucks has been selling high quality trucks and trailers for almost five decades. If you are looking to buy a Scania cheesewedge, DAF curtainsider or King plant trailer, call our sale team on 01422 311999 or email [email protected]