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Winter weather can throw at us an array of potentially hazardous conditions that increase the chance of an accident or breakdown. It’s incredibly important to be prepared and familiarize yourself with these driving tips to help face the cold, dark months of the festive period.

Plan your trip

It’s vital to spend some extra time in winter planning your route. Check out available live traffic update services. Pay attention to adverse weather conditions you’re likely to encounter. You might also want to let your friends and relatives know the route you plan to take and when you expect to arrive.

In the snow

  • Accelerate gently, keep the revs low
  • Leave as much as 10 times the normal gap between you and the car ahead
  • If you skid, steer into it and don’t stomp on the brakes
  • On unsanded roads, avoid the wheel tracks of other cars – compacted snow may become icy
  • Sunglasses can help against the glare of low sun reflecting on snow
  • Slow down!

In the fog

  • Get to know how your fog lights work – don’t confuse them with high beams
  • Allow two second’s worth of space between you and the next car
  • Don’t use the car in front’s tail lights as a navigation guide, as you may end up significantly reducing stopping distance
  • Listen out for traffic by winding down windows at junctions and crossroads if visibility is reduced
  • If you’re really struggling to see, you may need to stop altogether until conditions improve
  • Remember to turn fog lights off  when you no longer need them

In icy conditions

  • Be very wary of black ice – it is transparent and difficult to spot, meaning many drivers often don’t realize they need to reduce their speed
  • Only drive if absolutely necessary. Turn back if conditions are too severe
  • Check that windows are completely clear before setting off
  • 10 times the normal distance between cars is recommended
  • The same advice for skidding applies – steer into the skid and avoid harsh braking
  • Select a higher gear to help tires grip the surface of the road

Preparation is the name of the game when it comes to driving during the festive season. As well as getting to know these top tips for when you’re on the move, make sure you’ve properly checked your car before driving home for Christmas.

Earthgarage – Greener Car. Fatter Wallet.