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Always respect the weather. If snow is forecast, make sure you have plenty of fuel, and if you can, put a shovel and some matting in the boot. You probably won’t need them but together with a vacuum flask and a thick coat, they can make a bad start to your day a slightly warmer one.

A mobile phone and membership of a breakdown service are also bonuses in bad weather conditions.

Approach driving on snow as if you are trying to walk on eggs without breaking them. Stay in the highest gear possible as it will reduce the chances of accelerator movement, leading to loss of traction.

Keep an eye on the road surface. Staying in the left hand lane with the weight of traffic will tend to clear the surface.

As a general rule, drop your speed and allow a greater stopping distance when the weather conditions are deteriorating.

With permission from Advanced Driving UK.

Anybody who’s been on the wrong end of a skid knows just how terrifying it can be – for drivers, passengers and other road users.
Even on a fine day when the road surface seems normal, ice can remain where there’s shade. Black ice is particularly tricky as it occurs in patches. Our advice is to drive very cautiously when the temperature is low enough for black ice to be a risk.

Stopping distance
You need to be confident that you can stop in the distance you can see to be clear. The question to ask is this: dry, wet, ice or otherwise, can you honestly stop in the distance you can see to be clear?
When roads are slippery, use all the controls – brakes, steering, accelerator, and clutch – smoothly and gently to avoid going into a skid.

With permission from Advanced Driving UK.

We all get tricked by ‘speed triggers’ – things that make us more likely to speed up and exceed the limit without even noticing. This could be keeping up with other drivers, or feeling stressed by a driver too close behind. Being tempted to overtake a vehicle may also tip you over the limit, those moments when you’re thinking ‘should I go for it?’ – well you shouldn’t.

Distractions such as listening to loud music often result in speeding, as does something as simple as going downhill.

Learning to recognise your own ‘speed triggers’ will make it easier to avoid being pushed into speeding.

2-Second Rule
Keeping a safe distance from the vehicle in front will also help to reduce your stress levels when driving. Use the 2-Second Rule: leave at least a two second gap between you and the vehicle in front. Double this distance on wet roads and increase it even further on icy roads.

With permission from Advanced Driving UK.

Many people blame poor road conditions for skidding but that isn’t always the case. A skid is usually the result of a driver’s actions. If you’ve ever been in a skid you’ll probably remember that you were changing speed, direction or both, just before you started skidding.

Your vehicle will skid when one or more of the tyres loses normal grip on the road. Using the brakes, accelerator and steering applies a force that can cause a skid if it overcomes the force that keeps the tyres gripped on the road surface. And it’s a lot easier to do when it’s slippery.

Why we skid
The forces that can break the grip of the tyres on the road and cause a skid are:
• excessive speed for the conditions
• heavy steering (even combined with a speed that isn’t excessive)
• braking suddenly
• harsh acceleration

It’s easier to avoid a skid than correct one, so always pay attention to road and weather conditions. Motorcyclists do this automatically, but car drivers tend to just scrape the windscreen and then set off. Use your brakes, steering, and accelerator gently to avoid skidding.

If you do start to skid, your first action should be to remove the cause. If excessive speed is the cause (it’s the most common one) take your foot off the accelerator and steer smoothly in the direction of the skid until the tyres regain their grip. Then steer back onto your intended course. In icy or wet conditions, get into the habit of doubling your normal following distance.

With permission from Advanced Driving UK.

Have you ever found yourself braking in a bend simply because it was sharper than you originally thought?
It isn’t just novice drivers who get caught out on the bends – they are the principal cause of most single vehicle accidents. There are many ways we can use the environment to help us. The most obvious are road signs and markings, but there are other less obvious ones: the line of the trees, hedges, buildings or streetlights.

Limit point analysis
A useful way of assessing a bend is to use the limit point analysis. This is the furthest point you can see as you approach a bend, i.e. where the left and right hand sides of the road meet.

To use this technique, check if the limit point is getting further away. If it is and you can see further ahead, then your speed should be fine. On the other hand if it’s getting closer, reduce your speed until the limit point begins to move with you and your view opens up again. This technique takes a bit of practice but it will help you to link your speed with your range of vision and allow you to stop in the distance seen to be clear.

With permission from Advanced Driving UK.