Survive the snow, ice and rain with driving tips from Carzone

Driving in wintery conditions can be unsettling and dangerous at times, but sometimes it is unavoidable.

Different conditions mean you might end up in situations you are not used to. The Carzone website recently put together and shared some simple common-sense tips that can help guide you to arrive at your destination as safely as possible.

Snow and ice

Only drive when it is necessary and bring a bag of supplies: Be prepared for any problems or delays. Bring food, water, warm clothes, a blanket, torch, a first aid kit, fully charged mobile phone, jump leads, a shovel, an ice scraper, de-icing fluid, and grit/sand/cat litter (for traction if you get stuck ).

Plan your route: Stick to the main roads which are safer and more likely to be gritted. Get a full tank of fuel - if you do happen to get stranded you can keep the engine running to keep warm.

Make sure your car is fit to travel: Check basic items, like all your fluids are topped up and your tyres are not worn out.

Clear the entire windscreen with de-icer fluid or scraper: Make sure the window wipers are not stuck to the window. Also clear the side and rear mirrors, front and back lights, door mirrors, and number plate.

Steer, accelerate, and brake smoothly: Abrupt changes and manoeuvres can result in loss of grip and control.

If you skid: Do not break, this may prolong the skid. Take your foot off the accelerator and wait for the skid to stop. If you begin to spin, steer the car in the direction the rear of your car is sliding. Do not overcorrect, or you will need to turn in the opposite direction.

Rain

Go slow: This may sound like a no-brainer, but speed is a serious factor in wet conditions. Speed limits are for normal road conditions, so you should adjust them to ensure you can stop comfortably.

Do not use cruise control: Using cruise control is a great feature when its dry, but when it is wet the chance of losing control greatly increases. To prevent this happening you might need to reduce your speed by taking your foot off the accelerator which cannot be done when cruise control is engaged.

Keep lights on low beam: When your lights are on high beam, they can actually reflect off the rain and make your vision much worse.

Do not open the bonnet if you do break down: If you are unfortunate enough to break down, do not open the bonnet in the rain while you wait for the roadside assistance to arrive. Wet conditions can soak the electrics, making it more difficult to start the engine.

Floods

Check the depth: Do not attempt to go through more than six inches of standing water or four inches of moving water. Crawl through the water very slowly in first gear.

Do not drive fast: If you speed through a flooded area you could risk aquaplaning and lose control. If you do aquaplane, hold the wheel lightly and lift off the accelerator until you regain control. Air intake on many cars is also low at the front engine bay so only small amounts of water can be sucked in before causing damage.

Stop water getting into the exhaust by keeping the revs high: Do this by slipping the clutch. This will prevent the engine from stalling.

Have a happy and safe Christmas and New Year!

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