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Driving safely in snowy/icy conditions


As you may know, Carol is learning to drive and regularly takes control of our rather large van/car. That is until the recent cold snap and snow.

I wondered if anyone else would benefit from the tips and advice I’ve been giving her so I decided to write them down in a blog.

So, in no particular order;

1) Before you even put your coat on, think. Is your journey necessary? Can it wait for a couple of days? If so then stay in doors, keep warm and look out at the beauty of it all.

2) If your journey is essential, then, is their a bus you could use instead of your car? Statistically you are safer in a bus than a car and bus drivers are (usually) professionals who know what they are doing.

3) If after 1 and 2 above you still feel it is necessary to take the car then before you set off, remove ALL of the snow from your windows. Windscreen, rear window and all side windows. As well as clearing all of your lights.

(the number of times I have seen people driving after clearing only a tea plate sized hole in the windscreen, is ridiculous!)

Also take as much snow off the roof as you can reach, this way it can’t slide forward and cover the windscreen while you are moving.

OK, so we have now cleared as much snow as possible off your car it’s time to think about what might happen while you are driving.

4) Think about your route, is there any hills or other “dangerous” junctions/areas you will have to negotiate? If so then go a different way. Avoiding danger is the best way of staying out of it.

5) Make sure your car is warm enough to keep the windows from re-freezing. Keep the heater on and regularly use your wipers to clear any build up.

6) Once on the road there are three vital tips I can offer.
a) Slow down.
b) slow down even more.
c) you’re still going to fast!

7) Never make any sudden movements with the steering wheel or stamp on the brakes. Keeping yourself calm and relaxed will help you to keep your movements slow and subtle.

If you do find yourself in a skid then still DO NOT PANIC do not over steer or jump on the brakes IT WILL NOT HELP! If your car is sliding to the left ie: the rear of your car is moving out to the right and you are facing left then steer (gently) to the right and vice-versa if the car is skidding to the right then steer left.

If you do come to a hill and you can’t see the bottom of it then STOP, park up somewhere safe, get out and have a look. If there are cars in trouble or piled up at odd angles at the bottom, then don’t go down it. Turn around and go a different way.

And finally, leave yourself lots of extra time to slow down and stop. If someone is doing 10 mph in front of you then keep back, don’t try to overtake and don’t worry about being late. Rushing won’t get you there any faster.

I hope this has been helpful to someone and you don’t think I’m trying to “preach” to anyone.

Accidents will happen and the only way to come to terms with it is to remember your car is only so much metal and plastic and you are insured!

I hope you all stay safe and the snow/ice goes away again very very soon.

If you can add any more tips to this list then please do so, the better informed we all are the safer we can be :~))

Ian xx

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Ian.. many thanks... stay safe :o)

29 Nov, 2010


Very helpful information, Ian. I saw a car being driven early this morning by a really stupid person, there was, exactly as you say, just enough vision through the front windscreen, the rest of the windows were totally frosted! How dangerous is that? When I'd newly passed my test, way back long ago, I skidded on a bend, screamed in panic and luckily, my passenger, the lad I was going out with at the time, came to the rescue by steering us out of it, just the way you describe. We went to the nearest pub for a stiff drink or two, couldn't do that these days!

29 Nov, 2010


You're welcome Tt. I hope it all goes away again before too much longer!

Hi Shirley, There are some real idiots on the roads these days and I'm glad I no longer drive for a living. Your passenger was very clever to steer you out of your skid like that. It's not that easy to do from the passenger seat, I'm definitely impressed :~))

29 Nov, 2010


Last I heard about him, Ian, he's a technician for Rallycross drivers. Now that's a lot of skidding!

29 Nov, 2010


CHOCOLATE!!! - It lasts for weeks in the car, and will provide a good source of sugary carbohydrate should you need energy to dig yourself out of snow, or walk, should you need to leave your vehicle.

Don't underestimate heat loss from your body. You can always remove clothes if you get too hot, but you cannot add clothes if you haven't got them. Keep thermal attire in the vehicle. Extra socks, leggings, vests, bobble hats and gloves. There is nothing wrong in wearing two of each either!!!

Oh yes, and don't forget shoes. With thicker socks, it is always prudent to have a pair that are 1/2 a size too big for you, so that they can accomodate thicker socks.

Remember, you will never, ever care how stupid you look, with all your double this and thermal that, grinning with your chocolate lips, after you have survived!!!

29 Nov, 2010


Now Shirley, that's my kind of job! Lol.

Jason, these are all excellent additions and very essential. One more thing this has reminded me of is;

If you do get stuck in your car, don't, under any circumstances, leave your engine running! You run the very real risk of being overcome with carbon monoxide gas. If you are within walking distance of somewhere safe and warm it is much better to arrive there with chocolate lips than to be driven past in an ambulance!

29 Nov, 2010


Some excellent advice for drivers Ian and Jason.....Its amazing how many people do drive round with their vision hampered by snow and ice....and stuff piled on the back window sill......I'm glad I don't drive!!

29 Nov, 2010


To things i say to poeple
FOG Foot off the gas
Better to be ten minutes late than be in a coffin

29 Nov, 2010


Keep safe

29 Nov, 2010


good advice ian and thanx, hope your snow goes soon, ok here at the moment

29 Nov, 2010


Well done, Ian. Timely advice there from a professional. :-)) I think we might get another lot of 'it' in the next couple of days. I'm not going anywhere, though!

29 Nov, 2010


Very good advice, Ian! :-)) I don't drive but, if only from a passenger's perspective it all seems very wise, but how many people bother to take any notice?

29 Nov, 2010


Thank you all.

AA, it's never to late to learn you know! lol.

Hi Jiffy, they are good reminders FOG = foot off gas I like that a lot :~))

Thank you Clarice I hope we all do.

Sandra, I think you have some on the way, either tonight or tomorrow, according to the weatherman so take care!

Now you're embarrassing me Spritz. I have driven lorries for most of my life and did at one time hold an amateurs race drivers licence so I might just squeeze into the professional category Lol.

As you can see Balcony, most of what I believe will keep you safe is just common sense really. Like clearing the snow off the roof of the car, if you are warming your car up then it follows that the heat will penetrate the roof and melt the snow piled up there allowing it to move and slide about and you have windows all round for a reason so it follows that you should be able to see out of them at all times.

29 Nov, 2010


Local newspaper reported a car being stolen while the owner left it de-frosting ... swears he was only gone 30 seconds ... long enough for a 'Hoodie' to jump in and drive off! Never leave your car unattended ... even for 30 seconds.

29 Nov, 2010


oh nooo , ok thanx ian x

29 Nov, 2010


That's really bad Shirley, some of these people have no sense of self do they?

Really sorry Sandra! :~(

Thanks Homebird, a shovel and something to put under the wheels of your car can save you hours of walking/waiting to be rescued!

30 Nov, 2010


Two things i've herd last few days.
I'm insured, I'm out looking at the snow

And not a thankyou for giving some one a hand to get moving again, It make me not to help people again.

30 Nov, 2010


That's a bit off putting Jiffy, I couldn't accept anyone's help without, at least, saying thank you.

If anyone is out on the roads today, here in Nottingham, they must be desperate to get somewhere. It's snowed none stop since late last night and isn't showing any signs of slowing down. Holly's school is closed (not that I had any intention of taking her!) and the council have postponed their appointments (for our kitchen adaptations and extra light fittings)

30 Nov, 2010


You poor people! It must be terrible to have so much snow & to keep on snowing all day! :-((

We had a dusting, 1cm, overnight & very little has melted today as we have had clouds most of the time but no snow. The snow & ice have remained frozen all day & tonight we can expect a further 5 or 6 degrees C below freezing.

Hope you guys are keeping snug & warm indoors.

30 Nov, 2010


Well Balcony, as of 11:30pm tonight it is still snowing and when I went out to see to the chooks earlier it must have been at least 2 ft deep and drifting in the wind as well. It's blowing over the top of our 6 ft fence at the bottom of the garden! ! ! ! !
Apparently we have this for the next few days, at least :~(((

30 Nov, 2010


Having to do all this every day at the mo. Taking me at least 2 hrs to drive what is normally a 40 mins trip to work (necessary trip, and, have learned from experience, that may well have to stay over at work, if necessary, if conditions deteriorate during the day). Wish that some of the idiots I see knew these basics!!!!!!! Why do drivers of 4X4s and freight lorries think that they can overtake in the frozen/uncleared, "fast" lane (non-existant to most of us), without consideration of dousing the rest of us with ice, snow, slush, grit, etc!!!!!! Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Agree with many, and would add the following:- In addition to the chocoloate (essential, in my book, by the way, as it helps destress, lol!), a flask filled with a hot drink, shovel, blankets, change of clothes, overnight toiletries (carrying both at present, always), not to mention anti-freeze, de-icer, water for the wipers (if not frozen), full petrol can (surprising how much gets used up in jams/standstills/getting out of snowdrifts, ruts, etc. Also, ensure that your mobile is fully charged, and that EVERY number you may need, including police, ambulance, breakdown, family, is up-to-date in your "contacts". it's just like packing for your summer hols, innit? :-)) Happy, safe, winter driving all, I hope!!

1 Dec, 2010


I'm sorry David but I don't envy you one little bit. I'm pleased that my daily "commute" is only to take Holly to school and bring her back (about 4 miles each way). This is no longer necessary as it is closed until further notice. (Not that Holly minds one little bit! lol. She is much happier getting freezing cold and soaking wet outside with her friends)

You have added some excellent suggestions but can I add taking a car charger for your mobile just to be extra safe. I do think that thinking of everything and being doubly careful is the crux of what we're all saying. Never take anything for granted. If you get stuck in the snow then is anyone else going to be able to rescue you?

By the way, it is now 3 am Wednesday morning and I think it has only stopped for about 30 minutes since 9 pm Monday evening!

1 Dec, 2010


It's nearly 4.30am - time to brave the elements. Two hours in a nice warm car on the way to work seems bliss to me at the moment, even though my commute is only a few footsteps. I'll be off down the lane to manage Derek's cows, and then back to do mine.
I see my "lad" has just turned up for work, and he has to walk 2 1/2 miles to get here. Mind you, if the snow gets any deeper, I'll be picking him up. One good thing, is that at this time of morning, there arn't many motorists blocking up the lanes. Just me, Mr.Michelin man, with his 7 layers of clothing, three hats and two gloves!!!

1 Dec, 2010


Snow down here now ... drivers going past with barely cleared cars ... idiots is the politest word I can use on here! I have to walk round to visit my old Mum ... safer walking for me than driving today! Keep safe out there.

1 Dec, 2010


I always grin when I see these type of motorists. Just think how much extra fuel they are using hauling all this snow around!!!

1 Dec, 2010


No more snow has fallen here & that is now starting to melt in the lovely sunshine!

Mind you it's supposed to be bitterly cold outside but I haven't been out of home in 2 days!

Got our shopping in on Monday evening, thanks goodness for shopping online! :-)) so no need to go out. Wife's week's holiday has coincided with this cold spell so we are both home all day!

1 Dec, 2010


Hi Ian... sent you a pm. yesterday ....

1 Dec, 2010


Great idea to add an in-car charger for the mobile, Ian. Forgot to add that I also put several plastic compost bags filled with grit from local authority grit bins in my car boot. Not only might it help get out of a rut, but the weight helps stop the car's rear end swinging if icy. Am planning to make the 30-mile trip to work in the morning. If I get there, will be staying there until Saturday, as snow still falling (thigh-deep in our garden now), freezing overnight to ice, etc. Quite exciting, really, lol!!! Keep warm and safe! :-))

1 Dec, 2010


David ... just how BIG is your car ... with all that survival equipment inside is there a space for you any more ? lol ! You take care out in that deep, deep snow.

1 Dec, 2010


A Nissan Micra, Shirley, lol!!!! But she's very, very dependable. So long as I have space for me to actually try driving her, the extra weight of everything else helps. Just adding a sleeping bag and pillow now, in case the hospital runs out of beds. unfortunately, the car is sitting almost a mile away in a town centre, short-stay carpark, as could not get her any nearer home. Hope I don't find a parking/fine ticket on her in the morning, lol!! Will take care, and wish you same! X

1 Dec, 2010


Well I never, I drove a Micra for many years, it had an Irish number-plate of HXi 1593 which always caused problems at MOT time! UK wouldn't recognise it on their computer system so it had to be recorded as HX 11593. A co-worker at that time asked if it was a personalised plate, so I said my name was Hilary Xylophone, she was not amused at all! Made me smile at the time....... sadly, our daughter was the last one to drive it before the head gasket blew ... oops! Daughter fine, car finished. : o ((((

1 Dec, 2010

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