Winter Driving Tips
At Argyll Holidays we want to help keep you safe while driving this winter so we’ve put together some handy winter driving tips. Buckle up, stick to the speed limit (10mph on our holiday parks) and check out our tips below…
Have a safe journey!
Tip 1: Keep an emergency kit in your car
We recommend that you carry:
- Tow rope
- A shovel
- Wellington boots
- A hazard warning triangle
- De-icer and scraper
- First aid kit (in good order)
- A working torch (remember to check the batteries)
- A car blanket
- Warm clothes
- Emergency Food (including hot drink in a flask – non-alcoholic, of course)
- Mobile Phone (fully charged)
Tip 2: Prepare your journey
Listen to local/national weather broadcasts and travel bulletins – especially for the areas you will be driving through. Conditions can change rapidly so check them regularly and be prepared to change your plans if conditions on your route worsen.
- Plan alternative routes
- Keep your fuel tank near to full to ensure that you do not run out
- If you don’t have an emergency kit in your vehicle, at least take extra warm clothes, boots and a torch
- Clear your windows and mirrors completely of snow and ice before you set off
Tip 3: Driving in snow or ice:
Most of us have very little experience of driving in extreme conditions such as snow so take some time to consider how it affects your driving, don’t just drive as normal. If you find yourself driving in snow or on icy or snow-covered roads, adapt your driving to these conditions:
- Reduce your speed
- Leave a safe stopping distance from the car in front
- Speed limits are the maximum in ideal conditions. In difficult conditions, they can often be too fast so slow down
- Avoid harsh braking, acceleration or sharp steering
- Always reduce your speed smoothly and in plenty of time on slippery surfaces
- To slow down on ice and snow, lift the accelerator early to allow the speed to drop sufficiently to select a lower gear. If you need to use the brakes, use very gentle pressure depressing the clutch early to avoid stalling the engine.
- Increase the gap between you and the vehicle in front. You may need up to TEN TIMES the normal distance for braking.
- In snow, stop frequently to clean the windows, wheel arches, lights and number plates.
- Visibility will probably be reduced, so use dipped headlights.
- During wintry weather, road surfaces are often wet and/or covered in frost and ice or snow. But this does not occur uniformly. A road will often have isolated patches of frost or ice after most of the road has thawed – this commonly occurs under bridges.
Tip 4: If you get stuck in snow
- If you get stuck in snow, revving your engine to try to power out of the rut will just make the rut worse. Instead, move your vehicle slowly backwards and forwards out of the rut using the highest gear you can.
- If this doesn’t work, you may have to ask a friendly passer-by for a push or get your shovel out.
Tip 5: If you get caught in a snow drift:
- Don't leave your vehicle.
- Call your breakdown service or the emergency services and let help come to you.
- Don't run the engine to keep warm.
Tip 6: Rain
- Rain reduces your ability to see and greatly increases the distance required to slow down and stop. Remember that you will need about TWICE your normal braking distance.
- Aquaplaning is caused by driving too fast into surface water and the tyre tread cannot channel away enough water, the tyre(s) lose contact with the road and your car will float on a wedge of water.
- Aquaplaning can be avoided by reducing speed in wet conditions. Having the correct tyre pressure and tyre tread depth will maximise your tyres’ ability to maintain their road grip.
If it happens, ease off the accelerator and brakes until your speed drops sufficiently for the car tyres to make contact with the road again.
- The deepest water is usually near the kerb.
- Be aware of the bow wave from approaching vehicles – operate an informal ‘give way’ with approaching vehicles.
Tip 7: Fog
Fog is one of the most dangerous weather conditions. An accident involving one vehicle can quickly involve many others, especially if they are driving too close to one another.
If you must drive:
- Follow weather forecasts and general advice to drivers in the local and national media.
- Allow plenty of extra time for your journey.
- Switch on headlights and fog lamps if visibility is reduced.
- If you can see the vehicles to your rear, the drivers behind can see you – switch off your rear fog lamps to avoid dazzling them.
- Do not ‘hang on’ to the rear lights of the car in front as you will be too close to be able to brake safely.
- Beware of speeding up immediately when visibility improves slightly. In patchy fog you could find yourself ‘driving blind’ again only moments later.