Driving in Bad Weather

Drivers and, if on company business, employers must put safety before punctuality during bad weather.

  • Allow ten minutes extra to prepare the car.
  • Clear all windows of snow or ice using a scraper and de-icer.
  • Don't drive off until you have good all-round vision.
  • Use water-repellent spray on door locks and then oil them.
  • Use a cigarette lighter to warm a key for a frozen lock. Don't breathe on the lock - it will just freeze.
  • Hand-brake cables can freeze but leaving the hand-brake off can be dangerous. Leave it to thaw or call out a garage.

While it is always a good idea to allow extra time in winter for your journey, drivers must accept the inevitability of being late for work if they are caught up in an unexpected delay.

Winter Driving

Snow and Ice

Stopping distances are ten times longer in ice and snow, so gentle manoeuvres are the key to safe driving in heavy snow.

  • Wear comfortable, dry shoes - Cumbersome, snow-covered boots will slip on the pedals.
  • Select second gear when pulling away - Ease your foot off the clutch gently to avoid wheel-spin.
  • Try to maintain a constant speed - Choose the most suitable gear in advance to avoid having to change down while climbing a hill.
  • When driving downhill, choose third or fourth gear to prevent skidding.
  • Always apply brakes gently - Release them and de-clutch if the car skids.
  • 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.