I’m by no means an expert on driving in the snow. However, I’m Canadian and started driving at 16 (23 years ago) so I have a few years driving in treacherous weather. I once called the AA and they said they’d get to me in 3 days! This post is tempting fate and I’m sure I’ll end up pranging the car in the next few days so you can all point and laugh.
The thought of driving in the snow here in the UK doesn’t faze me, it’s the other people that, frankly, terrify me. I’m often surprised when schools are closed and people can’t make it to work. I know it’s not fair to compare Canada to the UK as you don’t have the infrastructure in place for a few days of snow but these short periods of weather seem to be getting longer and longer every year.
“Too many motorists simply jump in their cars on chilly mornings and treat adverse weather conditions as an inconvenience. The reality is that without proper preparation and a change in driving style, the consequences of snow and ice can be fatal.” from the BBC.
So, here are a few of my own tips to keep you a bit safer.
1.) If you’re not confident or the thought of driving in the snow makes your blood pressure race then for the love of god walk away from the car, go back inside and make yourself a nice warm cuppa. If you’re a nervous driver you won’t be able to react in time and will end up doing something stupid. No journey is worth it.
2.) DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT use your brakes unless you absolutely have to. Yes, this means that you have to drive at Grandma Speed but at least you’ll be able to stop when you need to. If you are driving a manual use your gears. If it is an automatic transmission then use the lower gears…those are denoted by the D1 and D2 on the column shift.
3.) Do not speed
4.) Just because you have a 4X4 it doesn’t mean you’re invincible so slow the f*ck down. I don’t know how many times in Canada I’ve driven (smugly) past SUVs in the ditch in my little town car.
5.) This one is actually in the road code, but most people seem to have forgotten. If you are coming down a hill (icy or not) the person coming up the hill has the right of way. If the person coming up the hill has to stop on an icy slope the laws of physics makes it nearly impossible for them to get going again. If you are coming down the hill and unable to stop then you’re going to fast!
6.) Use second gear when pulling out from a stop; it will prevent the wheels from spinning.
7.) Try not to change gears when going up a hill.
8.) If the worst happens and you start to skid, take your foot off the accelerator, DO NOT brake and steer in the direction of the skid.
Hope you have a safe journey!