Bad weather doesn’t mean you have to cancel your plans. It just means you need to be more cautious, prepared, and give yourself plenty of time when driving. Follow these tips to stay safe when you drive in winter conditions.
You need to be certain before heading off that you have everything you need, for any eventuality. Driving in snow means that your journey will most likely take longer, and you need to be prepared for that. Before any journey, it’s important that you check to make sure your car is in good working order, but it’s even more important before you drive in snow and ice. Make sure your wipers are working, you have enough de-icer, screen wash and petrol. The below points can also be useful when driving in difficult conditions:
• Wear comfy, sensible shoes (ones which you can drive in, and wear in snow are perfect).
• In a manual, be as gentle with the clutch as you can as you would want to avoid stalling
• Try to avoid sharp turning and braking suddenly as this can cause your vehicle to skid
• Where possible, avoid driving at night, or in bad visibility
Keeping your eyes on the road is always critical, but can become difficult when driving in snow. The Citroën head-up display projects all the essential driving information you need right in your line of vision, so you can stay focused on the road.
The key to driving safely in snow is to be extra cautious, slow and aware of everything around you. Careful and responsible driving is key here, and although you drive carefully and responsibly when you’re in normal conditions, there are extra things you can do to be even more safe. Set off in second gear as this provides more traction than the first gear.
Like snow, heavy rain will reduce your visibility and could cause you to skid, known as hydroplaning when it’s caused by rainfall. In heavy rain, make sure you keep your speed down, and your headlights on - even in daylight. Give plenty of space to other vehicles, an extra one or two seconds is ideal. If an option, don’t drive as soon as it starts raining, as that is when the road is most slippery.
Heavy fog that seriously reduces visibility is dangerous to drive in. When it’s foggy, only set off if your visibility isn’t too badly reduced, if it’s too dark and murky then wait until it clears. When it is safe to drive, do so slowly; in fog, even normal speeds can be dangerous. Use low beam headlights, not high beam, and make sure you stay focused.
Having the right tyre is really important in snowy, icy and dangerous conditions. As long as your tyres are properly inflated and aren’t damaged, careful driving means that you should be safe on snow.
• Your tyres should have 3mm grip - but don’t let the air out to get more grip. This can be really dangerous.
• Snow chains are chains that wrap around the tyres to get better traction in the snow and ice. They are only needed if the roads are deeply covered in snow but winter or seasonal tyres should normally be fine in the UK.
• You can get special winter tyres, designed for these kinds of conditions. Or, use snow socks. Snow socks give you more grip as you drive on snow and ice. They’re are much cheaper than winter tyres, but they do succumb to more wear and tear.
A skid can easily happen in winter conditions, especially if the roads are icy. For your and other drivers safety, it is best to prevent a skid in the first place than correcting it later on. The best prevention methods are:
• Driving at slower speeds
• Increasing your stopping distance from the vehicle in front of you
• Approaching every bend with extra caution
• Being gentle when steering, accelerating and braking
However, if your car does start to skid, make sure you gently steer into it and not away from it, as this will make the skid even worse. For example, if the rear of your car is sliding to the left, steer to the left. Also make sure you do not take your hands off the steering wheel or brake harshly as this will also make the skid worse. The important thing to do is to keep your composure, and try not to don’t panic.
Headlights are incredibly important in all winter conditions, whether it’s rain, fog or snow. In bad weather, make sure you clean them before setting off and use low beams so you don’t impair the vision of the driver in front.
We know that sometimes when you’re driving in stressful conditions, you need a little bit more help from your Citroën. That’s where smart beam comes in. A small camera on the rear-view mirror can sense when another car is coming, and dips your headlights for you. So, you can concentrate on your driving.
Not every driver will be as well prepared to drive in winter conditions as you. Be aware of all other drivers, and don’t assume they will be following the same rules as you. To aid you whilst driving we offer safety and driving aids on some of our vehicles to make you more aware of your surroundings and other vehicles. Some of these features include the Blind Spot Monitoring System, Hill Start Assist and Active Safety Brake.
Now more than ever you need to be aware of your speed:
Your speed must be slow, and constant. Avoid speeding up and slowing down.
You must drive slowly in the fog. On main roads, the speed limit is usually reduced when the visibility is very low.
You are more likely to skid in rain, so make sure you are driving slowly, and leaving space between you and the car in front.
As long as you’re safe and cautious, you can drive in hazardous weather. It just might make your journey time a little longer!
All the advice and tips provided are guidelines to keep drivers safe on the road. Even when every piece of advice from this guide has been taken, there is still a small chance that accidents may still occur.