Hawkwell Driving School - Driving lessons in Hockley, Rayleigh, Rochford, & Hullbridge.    Tel. 01702 204674

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How to drive on snow and ice for new drivers:

The first time you drive on snow or ice can be very scary, and probably the best advice is don't drive unless you have to. The risks of an accident are much greater when the roads are icy. Not necessarily because of you, but because of other drivers. Also it is very difficult to get anywhere, particularly when the snow first settles. Sometimes it can take over an hour to travel a mile or so, due to accidents, breakdowns, and people driving inappropriately. Then there is also the problem of getting stuck. It is best to avoid any major road, particularly any dual-carriageways because you can't turn around and go back the way you have come.



If you can, be prepared if snow is expected. Keep stuff in the car you may need, such as warm clothing, boots, gloves, and even a shovel. Strips of old carpet which can be put under your wheels to get yourself going are a good emergency measure. There is also an aerosol you can buy called spray-on-snow-chains, a chemical you can spray on your tyres to get you unstuck. If you really have to travel any distance you might consider buying snow socks, or chains: These go over your driving wheels and provide excellent grip in slippery conditions.

Driving conditions are often most hazardous after a few days, when the main roads are clear but snow on the side roads has been compacted into ice. This is when most people will be out and driving again.

Keep your distance:
The best way to have an accident when the roads are slippery is to drive too close to the car in front. So try to keep much much further back than you normally do, 3 times the distance is probably a good guideline. But further still if you know it is really icy. Even if the conditions look OK, you can't really tell. And you might be on a slippery section just as the car in front brakes. It is best not to take any chances.

On good road surfaces your separation distance should normally be 2 or 3 seconds, in the wet perhaps 3 or 4 seconds, on ice perhaps 20 seconds! It can take up to 10 times longer to stop on ice!

Often the biggest problem is knowing how slippery the surface is. So try it. When you first go out when the road conditions are bad, find a safe area with no-one behind, no-one coming the other way, and no nearby parked cars. Drive along at a slowish speed, and brake! See how long it takes to stop. At least then you will have an idea of how well your brakes will work.










Teaching people to drive for over 30 years! Professional driving lessons with
Alan J Barker BA DSA ADI. Covering Hockley, Rayleigh, Rochford, & Hullbridge areas