South Central Ambulance Service issue advice for driving in the snow

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STOPPING distances can be up to ten times longer in ice and snow.

That is one of the nuggets of advice that has been released by South Central Ambulance Service this week.

The information was issued following forecasts of heavy snow and ice over the next few days. It aims to give drivers advice on how to drive in adverse conditions.

The following advice has been given:

– Avoid driving in snowy and icy conditions unless your journey is absolutely necessary

– Ensure you have sufficient fuel for your journey and that you have a mobile phone, ice-scraper, de-icer, blanket, shovel, jump leads, warning triangle, hi-viz jacket or vest, hot flask and food in the event of getting trapped

– Stopping distances can be up to ten times longer in ice and snow

– Gentle manoeuvres are the key to safe driving in heavy snow. Use all the car’s controls – accelerator, brakes, clutch and steering – as gently and progressively as possible. Modern diesel vehicles will pull away on ‘tick-over’ with accurate and concise use of the clutch, without any use of the accelerator. This will help to get you moving and will allow maximum grip when doing so. Dependant on the situation and conditions, you can select second gear when pulling away, easing your foot off the clutch gently to avoid wheel spin. Once moving, maintain a constant speed, choosing the most suitable gear in advance to avoid having to change down while climbing or descending hills

– Ensure your boots or shoes are cleaned of snow or ice to ensure your safety getting in and out of the vehicle and to ensure they don’t slip while driving

– 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

– Clear snow from the roof and windows. Snow piled on the roof can fall onto the windscreen obscuring your view and can also be a hazard to other road users. You could be fined up to £2,500 and receive three penalty points if the police consider your car a danger to other road users, or you are unable to maintain a clear and unobstructed view of your surroundings

– Keep to main roads as they are more likely to be gritted

– If you breakdown or get stuck stay with your vehicle unless you know exactly where you are and are capable of getting to a known place of safety

– Never let other speeding drivers lull you into a false sense of security

– Only drive as fast as conditions, your vehicle and your abilities allow

– If you don’t have to go, stay at home

– Before your set off, take a few minutes to make sure there aren’t any problems on your intended route