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Tips For Driving on Snow and Ice

Met Eireann has issued a Status Yellow snow-ice weather warning as snow is set to sweep across the country writes Geraldine Herbert

  • Ensure your windows are clean and clear, and that you have all-round visibility before you set off. Also take the time to clear snow off the roof of your car.
  • 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 it is needed
  • From stationary, start gently and avoid high revs. Stay in a higher gear to avoid skidding and maximise control. If it is very slippery, in a manual car move off in a higher gear, rather than just using first.
  •  If you get yourself into a skid, the main thing to remember is to take your foot off the pedals and steer. 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 relying on your brakes to be able to stop; it simply may not happen!
  • It’s better to think ahead as you drive to keep moving, even if it is at walking pace.
  • Plan your journey around busier roads as they are more likely to have been gritted. Avoid using short cuts on minor roads – they are less likely to be cleared or treated with salt, especially country lanes and housing estates.
  • Bends are a particular problem in icy conditions – slow down before you get to the bend, so that by the time you turn the steering wheel you have already lost enough speed.
  • On a downhill slope get your speed low before you start the descent, and do not let it build up – it is much easier to keep it low than to try and slow down once things get slippery.

And if the worst does happen:

  • Keep track of where you are. If you do have to call for assistance, you need to be able to tell the breakdown or emergency services your location.
  • If you must leave your vehicle to telephone for assistance, find a safe place to stand away from the traffic flow. If you have just lost control, the next driver could well do the same in the same place.
  • If you break down or have to pull over on a motorway or dual carriageway, 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 if at all possible.  Balancing the risks of a collision and hypothermia is something that depends entirely on your situation.

Check out our checklist of  things you should have in your car in case of snow

 

Geraldine Herbert

25th February, 2018

 

Author: Geraldine Herbert

Contributing Editor and Motoring Columnist for the Sunday Independent and editor of wheelsforwomen. Geraldine is also a regular contributor to Good Housekeeping (UK) and to RTÉ Radio One, Newstalk, TodayFM and BBC Radio. You can follow Geraldine on Twitter at @GerHerbert1

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