Home' Central Canterbury News : July 10th 2013 Contents 10 CENTRAL CANTERBURY NEWS, JULY 10, 2013
WOFs & WINTER CHECKS!
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Best tip for driving in snow - don't
WINTER TYRES: Obviously, these are
best in snow, but even then, make sure
you have a full set of chains on board.
Snow and ice - it's that time of the year again. If you don't
want to have problems in the worst driving conditions, no-
one is going to blame you if you just stay at home, says
WINTER DRIVING: There'll be times when you'll wish you
hadn't set-out on the road at all. Sometimes, staying at
home is the best decision.
AVOID DRIVING in snow and other treacherous
conditions, especially if you have little or no
experience of them. Never set off when it's
snowing or if it's forecast to do so, as it will
only get worse before it gets better. The same
goes for driving in other bad conditions like
fog, heavy rain and ice.
Consider alternatives such as walking or
using public transport, if available. Speak to
your employer in advance about working from
home when weather is very bad, especially if
you live in a rural area prone to snow or floods.
However, if you think you might just HAVE
to drive, be prepared. Make sure your vehicle
is well maintained and tyres have a tread
depth of at least 3 millimetres. Check forecasts
and plan your route to avoid roads likely to be
more risky, and allow plenty of time. Pack a
winter driving kit in case you're caught out.
This should include: an ice scraper or de-icer;
torch; cloths; a blanket and warm clothes; food
and drink; first-aid kit; shovel; and a high-vis
vest. Always take a fully charged phone in case
of emergencies, but don't be tempted to use
it when driving. If you're going out in snow
without winter tyres and a set of chains at the
ready, expect a few "We told-you-sos" when
and if you get back!
Ensure your windows are clean and clear.
Also, take the time to clear snow off the roof
of your car. Use your dipped headlights and
avoid foglights -- they can create dangerous
glare in snow, ice, rain and sleet.
Most importantly, you need to slow right
down and increase the distance behind the
vehicle in front. In rain, your stopping distance
doubles, so keep a four-second gap at least. In
snow or icy conditions, stopping distances
increase by as much as 10 times, so you need
to drop right back. Keep a careful look out for
people on foot and cyclists, who may be
harder to spot. Avoid abrupt braking and
hard acceleration, and carry out manoeuvres
slowly, smoothly and with extra care.
When driving in snow, get your speed right
- not too fast that you risk losing control, but
not so slow that you risk losing momentum
when it is needed.
From stationary, start gently and avoid high
revs. Stay in a higher gear to avoid skidding
and maximise control. If it is very slippery, in a
manual car, move off in a higher gear, rather
than just using first.
If you get yourself into a skid, remember to
take your foot off the pedals and steer into the
skid. Only use the brake if you cannot steer
yourself out of trouble.
It's better to think ahead as you drive, to
keep moving, even if it is at walking pace.
Plan your journey around busier roads, as
they are more likely to have been gritted or
snowploughed. Avoid using short cuts on
Bends are a particular problem in icy
conditions. Slow right down well before you
get to the bend, so that by the time you turn
the steering wheel, you have already lost
On a downhill slope, get your speed low
before you start the descent and do not let it
build up -- it is much easier to keep it low than
to try to slow down once things get slippery.
The most important message is to err on the
side of caution and not drive if it's snowing,
forecast to snow, or if there are other
potentially deadly conditions.
If the worst does happen:
Keep track of where you are. If you do have
to call for assistance, you need to be able to
tell the breakdown or emergency services
If you must leave your vehicle for any
reason, find a safe place to stand, away from
the traffic flow. If you have just lost control,
the next driver could well do the same in the
If you break down or have to pull over on a
main road, it is always better to leave your
vehicle and stand a short distance to the safe
side of it. Don't stand in front of it if at all
possible. Balancing the risks of a collision and
hypothermia is something that depends
entirely on your situation.
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