We’ve had a lot of bad weather recently but with winter creeping even closer, there’s no doubt Britain’s roads will be hit hard once again with even more bad weather conditions. When severe weather hits, it’s usually best to stay off the roads but if your journey is essential then you need to prepare for the conditions, especially if you’re going on a long car journey.
Prepare for your journey
Before setting off, remember your basic car maintenance checks; the last thing you want is a nasty car breakdown in bad weather! Check your tyre pressure and treads and keep an eye out for any tyre defects. Ensure your lights are working to their full potential and that you have sufficient oil and fuel to see you through your journey.
Pack a map or satnav just in case you get lost along the way. You should also carry a mobile phone in your car but only use this for emergencies. Take a first aid kit, torch, extra clothes (in case you get cold or wet!) and food and drink for the journey; you never know when you might need them!
Check the weather forecast before you set off and listen to the radio for travel information updates. If the weather is particularly bad then aim to postpone your journey until you feel it is safe to drive.
Keep a windscreen scraper and de-icer in your car for snowy and icy conditions.
Driving in fog
Fog is quite a dangerous weather condition to drive in as it significantly reduces the visibility of the roads. Reduce your speed and drive carefully with dipped headlights.
When visibility is less than 100m, use your fog lights until conditions have improved. Make sure there is plenty of space between you and the vehicle ahead, just in case the vehicle ahead happens to slam on.
Driving in snow and ice
Driving through snow and ice is particularly dangerous and at times, very difficult.
Before setting off, remember to clear off any snow from your roof. If left, the now could fall onto your windscreen and obstruct your view of the road which could be really dangerous.
Drive with ultimate care and keep your eyes on the road at all times. Drive slowly and keep well back from the vehicle in front, as stopping distances are much greater in the snow and ice.
Switch to a high gear when driving on icy roads and don’t brake abruptly. Take extra care around corners, bends and roundabouts.
If your vehicle starts to skid then try not to panic. Depress the clutch and steer into the skid. You can then steer along the road once your vehicle straightens.
Driving in heavy rain
Stopping distances can double in very wet conditions so keep well behind the car ahead. If it is only raining slightly then drive as you normally would but keep in mind that stopping distances will still be affected.
Driving in strong winds
Take care when driving in wind as strong winds can blow a vehicle off course.