The Met Office has warned that ‘Disruptive snow is possible next week’ as an ‘arctic airmass’ is expected to ‘exert its influence on the UK’s weather’.
Furthermore, this past week Google searches for “Met Office weather forecast snow” have increased a huge 1485%, with 27K searches spanning the last month alone in the UK.
In response, tyre and road safety experts etyres are issuing a warning to UK drivers reminding them of little-known winter driving safety tips that could prove deadly if forgotten. Not to mention the risk of a £1,000 fine, increased to a £2,500 fine for PCV or goods vehicles if you lose control of your vehicle while driving in winter conditions.
As well as this etyres has revealed the drivers most at risk in snow including BMW and Mercedes owners.
Richard Croft, Operations Director at etyres said, “The unpredictable nature of UK weather often brings sudden bouts of snow and ice, catching drivers off guard.
“We strongly advise motorists to remain vigilant as the temperature drops in the upcoming days and weeks. Drivers must prepare for worst-case scenarios, ensuring they can avoid getting stranded and maintain control of their vehicles on icy roads.
“Understanding how to prevent wheelspin in winter conditions is vital, as it can be a lifesaver, preventing tyres from losing traction and avoiding dangerous skids or collisions.
“Drivers should exercise caution by releasing the clutch slowly and driving in the highest possible gear. In the unfortunate event of a car skidding, steering in the direction of the rear of the vehicle is recommended, while avoiding abrupt braking to regain control and navigate through challenging winter conditions safely.”
DON’T release the clutch quickly in winter conditions
When switching gears in winter it’s vital that drivers take care not to release the clutch too quickly as this could cause the wheels to spin and subsequently the tyres will no longer have a grip on that road surface, which could lead to the car skidding out of control.
If your car starts to skid turn the steering wheel in the direction of the rear wheels
If you do end up in a slippery situation and your car starts to skid you must drive in the direction of the rear of the car. Rule 119 of The Highway Code states, “For example, if the rear of the vehicle skids to the right, steer immediately to the right to recover.”
Don’t slam on the brakes if your car is skidding as if your wheels are locked, it will only cause you to skid further out of control.
Drive in as high gear as possible in snow and ice
Driving in the highest gear possible, without stalling your engine, will allow your tyres the greatest chance of gripping an icy road.
This applies to setting off too, if your car is struggling to start your drive in first gear, starting in second gear will stop the engine from overwhelming the tyres.
Rubber floor mats could be the difference between being stranded or getting to safety
If the worst happens and your vehicle is stuck in snow or on an icy road, rubber floor mats could be the difference between being stranded or getting to safety.
Simply place the rubber floor mat as far under the tyre that is slipping as possible, doing this will help give the tyre enough traction to get moving again.
Keeping sunglasses in your car in winter could prevent accidents
Although sunglasses are often associated with summer driving, keeping a pair in your car in the winter months is a very important safety precaution all drivers should remember.
Low sun can be a hazard for drivers in winter, dazzling their view of the road, and resulting in accidents. Around 3,900 people are injured in accidents caused by the blinding effects of the sun each year, data from the Department of Transport reveals.
Cat litter will increase wheel traction and demist your windscreen
The absorbent nature of cat litter provides additional grip on slippery roads, if you’re stuck in snow, spread cat litter, or salt will do the trick too, in front of your tyres to absorb the moisture around them and improve their traction.
Furthermore, when sprinkled on your windscreen, cat litter can reduce condensation and frost, ensuring clearer visibility during frosty mornings or icy conditions.
Ensuring your tyres are in optimum condition is paramount for safe driving in winter
Drivers must make sure their tyres are in optimum condition in cold weather to ensure their vehicle stays firmly gripped to the winter roads. Two of the main tyre checks drivers should carry out are tread depth and tyre pressure.
Tread depth is vital to ensuring your tyres have enough traction to grip the road. The legal limit for tyre tread depth is 1.6mm, however, it is recommended in winter to have a minimum tread depth of 3mm.
Colder weather can cause tyre pressure to drop more significantly which will affect the tyres grip. Drivers should remember to check their tyre pressure twice a month in the winter period.
Rear-wheel-drive car owners are warned to take extra caution in winter
Driving rear-wheel-drive cars in winter conditions can be challenging, as they may struggle for traction due to the vehicle’s weight distribution.
Front-wheel-drive cars benefit from having the weight of the engine on the drive wheels, unlike rear-wheel-drive cars. Consequently, rear-wheel-drive cars may experience wheelspin issues, particularly when climbing steep hills in icy weather. Therefore, it is not advisable for individuals living in snowy conditions to opt for rear-wheel-drive cars.
However, given that the UK experiences an average of only 23.7 days of snowfall per year, many people own rear-wheel-drive vehicles without issue for much of the year. Problems may arise during the winter months, from December to March. Drivers of rear-wheel-drive cars in these months should consider using winter tyres, as they offer improved grip on the road.