Winter weather conditions pose additional hazards on the road.
Snow, ice, rain and fog are some of the weather conditions that impact greatly on road safety.
So, how do you deal with these bad weather conditions? And how should you adapt the way you drive to handle the conditions safely?
Below are eDriving FLEET’s tips for driving in bad weather conditions.
- Allow extra time for your journey
- Avoid driving during rush hour
- Drive according to the conditions – on treated and untreated roads. Be aware that this could mean traveling way below the maximum posted speed limit
- Reduce speed in poor visibility, where there is snow, or if ice may have formed
- Use the highest gear possible to help keep control of the vehicle and avoid harsh braking and acceleration
- Maintain larger safer stopping distances. Three seconds is for good conditions but it can take twice as long to stop on wet roads and up to ten times as long on icy roads
- Use dipped headlights in poor visibility and snow to make sure you are as visible as possible to other road users
- Use rear fog lights in poor visibility but remember to switch them off when conditions improve
- Watch out for other road users, including motorbikes, bicycles, pedestrians and children, who may also be having difficulties in the conditions
- Remember that other road users are also less visible in bad weather conditions
Additional tips for driving in specific bad weather conditions:
Driving in fog
- Slow down and increase your safety space between other vehicles
- Make sure your dipped headlights are on
- Use fog lights if visibility is seriously reduced, but remember to switch them off when visibility improves
- Never hang on the tail lights of the vehicle in front
- If fog appears to clear, don’t speed up suddenly. Be aware that fog can appear in patches, so you could soon find yourself back in foggy conditions
Driving in ice, snow and slush
- Use the main roads which have been salted as much as possible. Maps of routes that have been salted are usually available on local authority/ council websites
- Drive slowly, maintaining extra safety space around your vehicle
- Use the highest gear possible to avoid wheel spin
- Manoever gently, avoiding harsh braking and acceleration
- If driving a manual vehicle: to brake on ice and snow without locking your wheels, get into a low gear earlier than normal, allow your speed to fall, and use the brake pedal gently
- If you skid, ease off the accelerator but do not brake suddenly
- Keep well back from snow ploughs – don’t attempt to pass!
Driving through floods
- If you can take an alternate route, do so
- If you have no choice but to drive through floodwater, drive slowly in first gear, but keep the engine speed high by slipping the clutch – this will stop you from stalling
- Travel through the water one vehicle at a time
- Avoid deep water
- Pass through the water at the most shallow point, usually in the middle of the road
- Watch out for others and allow them to pass
- Test your brakes a few times after you are through a flood before driving at normal speed
Driving in bad weather conditions should be avoided where possible. However, it is unlikely that you will be able to avoid driving in bad weather conditions completely. Sometimes, bad weather conditions can catch you out. On other occasions, a journey might be unavoidable.
The best way to deal with driving in bad weather conditions is to be prepared and plan your journey.
Click here for additional guidance on safe driving and safe travel in winter weather conditions.
You can also download our Best Practice Guide: Bad Weather.