Get up at least 10 minutes early to give you time to prepare your vehicle.
Clear all windows of snow and ice using de-icer and a scraper – do not set off with just a tiny hole cleared in the windscreen.
Check the roof for snow before you drive – it can slip down over the windshield and obscure your view.
Use a cigarette lighter to warm a key for a frozen lock. Don’t breathe on the lock, as the moisture will condense and freeze.
Besides an ice scraper and de-icer, it’s worth carrying a mobile phone with fully charged battery, first-aid kit, tow rope, blankets, warm coat and boots, jumper leads, snow shovel, warning triangle, an old sack or rug and water repellent spray.
Plan routes to main roads that have likely been plowed and sanded.
Put safety before punctuality when the bad weather closes in. While it’s always a good idea to allow extra time in winter for your trip, drivers must accept the inevitability.
Tips for driving in the snow
Accelerate and decelerate slowly. Applying the gas slowly to accelerate is the best method for regaining traction and avoiding skids. Don’t try to get moving in a hurry. And take time to slow down for a stoplight. Remember: It takes longer to slow down on icy roads.
Drive slowly. Everything takes longer on snow-covered roads. Accelerating, stopping, turning – nothing happens as quickly as on dry pavement. Give yourself time to maneuver by driving slowly.
The normal dry pavement following distance of three to four seconds should be increased to eight to ten seconds. This increased margin of safety will provide the longer distance needed if you have to stop.
Know your brakes. Whether you have antilock brakes or not, the best way to stop is threshold breaking. Keep the heel of your foot on the floor and use the ball of your foot to apply firm, steady pressure on the brake pedal.
Don’t stop if you can avoid it. There’s a big difference in the amount of inertia it takes to start moving from a full stop versus how much it takes to get moving while still rolling. If you can slow down enough to keep rolling until a traffic light changes, do it.
Don’t power up hills. Applying extra gas on snow-covered roads just starts your wheels spinning. Try to get a little inertia going before you reach the hill and let that inertia carry you to the top. As you reach the crest of the hill, reduce your speed and proceed down hill as slowly as possible.
Don’t stop going up a hill. There’s nothing worse than trying to get moving up a hill on an icy road. Get some inertia going on a flat roadway before you take on the hill.