As you may have felt over the last few days, our winter weather has begun to make an impact on Derbyshire.
With this, it’s important to make sure your car is equipped for the weather change. 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.
For some new drivers, this may be your first winter as a car owner. It’s important to adapt your driving to the conditions of the road.
Here are a few winter driving tips, that even our most experienced police drivers still use:
Pull away in second gear, easing your foot off the clutch to avoid wheel-spin.
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.
Drive slowly and maintain safe stopping distances – in bad weather it can take ten times longer to come to a stop.
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’re 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 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 100m, use your fog lights. Remember to turn them off when visibility improves.
If you get stuck in the snow, straighten the steering wheel, 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 grip.
Check your tires to ensure they have the legal tread required, tyres with less tread are more likely to lose grip with the road.
Most people have experienced the difficulties faced with winter driving, please have patience with other drivers and remember that they might not be as experienced in winter conditions.