Winter driving advice for Derbyshire motorists
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Changing weather conditions may take some drivers by surprise and it is important to take extra care on the roads of Derbyshire.
We've all seen a poor motorist sliding along after sudden snowfall and even the most experienced of drivers can get caught out in the challenging conditions that snow and ice can present for road users.
It is crucial to leave extra time before setting off on a journey to thoroughly defrost your vehicles, ensuring your windscreens and lights are completely clear, and to give yourself time to allow for slower driving conditions. Prepare yourself by listening to travel reports and the weather forecast before setting off.
Many individuals choose to leave their vehicles unattended, leaving the engine running, when attempting to de-ice their cars. We would strongly advise you do not do this, as this has led to numerous vehicles being reported stolen.
Here are some winter driving tips that may be of assistance:
- Wear comfortable, dry shoes for driving.
- Pull away in second gear, easing your foot off the clutch to avoid wheel-spin.
- Drive slowly and maintain safe stopping distances – in bad weather it can take ten times longer to come to a stop. Even if the roads have been gritted they’re still likely to be slippery.
- Give more warning than usual to other drivers when turning, stopping or changing lane.
- If you happen to skid, steer gently into it and try not to brake or accelerate until you are back in control. Dropping gears instead of braking can help prevent skidding.
- Accelerate gently, use low revs and change up to a higher gear as quickly as possible.
- Approach corners steadily, in as low a gear as possible. Don’t touch the clutch unless it’s absolutely necessary, steer smoothly and avoid braking on bends.
- When driving uphill leave plenty of room in front, or wait until it is clear, so that you can maintain a constant speed without the need for changing gear.
- Use a low gear for going downhill and try to avoid braking unless necessary, make sure you leave plenty of space between you and the car in front.
- When driving in heavy snow, make sure that you use your dipped headlights.
- If visibility drops below a 100m, use your fog lights on. Remember to turn them off, when visibility improves.
- Wearing sunglasses can help to reduce the glare of low winter sun on the snow.
- If you get stuck, straighten the steering and clear the snow from the wheels. If close to hand, put a sack or old rug in front of the wheels to give the tyres some grip.
Report road hazards
As winter progresses, potholes may appear which could pose a safety hazard to all road users. If you spot a problem, report them to your local council:
Missed our top winter riding tips? See them here.