Ballymena has been hit by snow. Here are some hints of how to drive in snow – just incase we get some more this weekend! The AA issue lots more great advice about driving the the winter and we took our tips from their website here.
Gentle manoeuvres are the key to safe driving – stopping distances are 10 times longer in ice and snow.
- Wear comfortable, dry shoes for driving. Cumbersome, snow-covered boots will slip on the pedals.
- Pull away in second gear, easing your foot off the clutch gently to avoid wheel-spin.
- Up hill – avoid having to stop part way up by waiting until it is clear of other cars or by leaving plenty of room to the car in front. Keep a constant speed, choosing the most suitable gear well in advance to avoid having to change down on the hill.
- Down hill – reduce your speed before the hill, use a low gear and try to avoid using the brakes. Leave as much room as possible between you and the car in front.
- If you have to use brakes then apply them gently.
- Automatic transmission – under normal driving conditions (motorways, etc) it’s best to select ‘Drive’ and let the gearbox do the work throughout the full gear range. In slippery, snowy conditions it’s best to select ‘2’, which limits the gear changes and also makes you less reliant on the brakes. Some autos have a ‘Winter’ mode which locks out first gear to reduce the risk of wheel spin. Check the handbook.
If you get stuck, straighten the steering and clear the snow from the wheels. Put a sack or old rug in front of the driving wheels to give the tyres some grip. Once on the move again, try not to stop until you reach firmer ground.
Preparation is also very important. Have a warm coat and gloves in the car and make sure you are topped up with anitfreeze and have a new can of deicer to hand. An ice scraper is also really helpful for when you are out and about and return to the carpark to find your car frozen over. At home you can used hot water to defrost your car – just make sure it isn’t boiling water and remember to check that you windscreen wipers aren’t frozen to you windscreen. If they are they won’t work when you turn them on or, at worst, they will break.
Alway be really careful on the road and allow for extra time if you have an essential journey. Remember that other road users may be nervous and want to take it slowly so be patient when driving to Ballymena in the snow.