This week freezing conditions and snowy weather are arriving in the UK from Siberia. Storm Emma, as it’s been called, is already causing problems on the roads in Essex, Kent and the Eastern counties and is moving across the rest of the country over the next few days.
The general advice is to avoid driving in the snow and ice, but if your job involves driving that’s difficult advice to follow. If you do have to take to the roads, make sure you are fully prepared before you set off and drive carefully once you do.
When it’s snowing heavily there’s a greater chance of getting caught in a traffic jam or accident or your vehicle breaking down. Make sure you are prepared for any of these eventualities before you head off. Pack some basic essentials in your car or van, including:
- A fully charged mobile phone
- A torch and spare batteries
- Sleeping bags or thick blankets
- Bottles of water and snacks (e.g. chocolate, cereal bars, nuts, crisps; anything that will keep energy levels up during a long, cold wait)
- A shovel
- De-icer and an ice scraper
- Extra warm clothes, gloves, hats, footwear and waterproofs.
Take extra caution when the roads are icy and it’s snowing and keep the following advice in mind.
Snow and ice:
- use the highest gear possible to avoid wheel spin but don’t let your speed creep up.
- brake gently to avoid locking the wheels. Get into a low gear earlier than normal and allow the vehicle to slow down gradually.
- take corners very slowly and steer gently and steadily to avoid skidding. Never brake if the vehicle skids, instead, ease off the accelerator and steer slightly into the direction of the skid until you gain control.
- If you get stuck in snow, do not spin the wheels or rev the vehicle, as this will dig the vehicle further in. Instead, put the vehicle into as high a gear as possible and slowly manoeuvre the vehicle lightly forwards and backwards to gently creep out.
- if you are stuck fast, stay in the vehicle unless help is visible within 100 yards. Do not abandon your vehicle as this can hold up rescue vehicles.
Slow right down: if visibility is poor or the road is wet or icy, it will take you longer to react to hazards and you should reduce your speed accordingly. Take corners very slowly and reduce speed even more if you can’t see the road ahead clearly. Always stay well within the speed limit and look out for temporary speed limit signs. Never speed up suddenly if fog seems to have cleared. Fog can be patchy and you may suddenly re-enter it.
Maintain a safe gap behind the vehicle in front: the gap between you and the vehicle in front is your emergency braking distance. In wet conditions you should leave four seconds, and in ice or snow, drop right back as much as possible. Stopping distances are double in the wet and can be 10 times greater in icy weather. Never hang on someone else’s tail lights. This can provide a false sense of security and means you’re not properly focused on the road.
Be extra vigilant for people and hazards: people on foot, bicycles, motorbikes and horses are harder to spot in adverse weather. Drive slowly and cautiously so you are able to spot vulnerable road users in plenty of time and not put them in danger. Look out for signs warning of hazards, people, adverse conditions or temporary lower speed limits.
Stay in control: avoid harsh braking and acceleration and carry out manoeuvres very slowly and with extra care.
Use lights: put lights on in gloomy weather and when visibility is reduced. Use front and rear fog lights in dense fog. Remember to switch off fog lights when visibility improves.
If you have an accident
If you are involved in an accident and need to make a claim, if you are insured through Anthony Jones, you can use our online claims form to register your claim. You can also upload any photos or video footage that you think might help. The sooner you tell us, the faster we can get your vehicle back on the road.
If you’re not insured through Anthony Jones, call a member of our experienced motor team today on 0208 712 4273. We would be delighted to talk through your insurance requirements and provide you with a quote.