Winter driving advice from FLEXED – short term car leases
Driving in bad weather during the winter months can be challenging and motorists should be prepared to slow right down in poor conditions and if the weather is really bad, a journey should be cancelled to avoid driving altogether.
The weather in winter can be unpredictable and change very quickly, making driving conditions difficult and the roads treacherous. Driving in heavy rain, wind, fog, black ice or snow can be very challenging – stopping distances in wet conditions can double but in ice and snow this can increase ten-fold.
Your reaction times in hazardous conditions can be reduced if you can’t see the roads properly, making driving in bad weather extremely dangerous and not something that should be taken lightly.
To stay safe this winter in your lease car from Flexed, drivers are urged to avoid driving at all if the weather is particularly bad. If the weather forecast predicts snow and you have a journey planned, it would be better to cancel or make alternative arrangements.
If it’s snowing heavily before setting off on a journey, consider changing your plans altogether.
Make sure your lease car is ready for winter weather by carrying out a simple maintenance check which should include ensuring the tyres are in good condition and have plenty of tread – at least 3mm to stay safe in wet conditions. Check that you’ve got anti-freeze in your radiator and windscreen wash in the bottle and that all light bulbs are working properly. Make sure the windscreen wipers are in good condition and keep all the lights free from dirt.
Keep an ice scraper and some de-icer in your car throughout winter and pack an emergency winter kit just in case – this should include torch and spare batteries, spade, warning triangle x 2, high-vis jacket, warm clothes, sturdy boots, drinks and snacks, blankets, empty fuel can, jump start leads, extra screenwash, sunglasses, first aid kit, mobile phone and charger with extra power pack.
All ice and snow must be cleared from your windscreen, windows and the roof of your lease car before setting off. Driving without full visibility is dangerous but could also lead to a fine for driving with snow on your roof as it could blow off and distract another road user or land on your windscreen and block your view.
And NEVER leave your car running unattended to warm up and defrost – it could be stolen and your insurance policy invalidated as a result.
Before setting off on a journey, either long or short, check the weather forecast and plan your route according to your findings. Major roads are the ones most likely to be clear and gritted, so try and use these and give yourself plenty of time for possible delays.
If you find yourself caught up in bad weather you must slow right down so you can react in good time to any eventuality. Keep within the speed limit and drive slowly around corners. Don’t be temped in foggy weather to speed up when it seems clear as it could reappear further down the road.
Keep a safe gap between you and the vehicle in front, especially when the conditions are wet, icy or there’s snow on the ground. Don’t rely on the vehicle in front during bad weather, just stay a safe distance away and concentrate on the road ahead.
Stay alert and remain extra vigilant about who’s around you – in poor weather people walking, bicycles and motorbikes are harder to see, so drive slowly and carefully so vulnerable road users are easy to notice in good time.
Make sure you stay in control of your vehicle by avoiding harsh braking and acceleration and all manoeuvres should be done slowly and carefully.
Remember to drive with your lights on when the weather is dull and visibility is reduced and in foggy conditions use your front and rear fog lights but switch them off when visibility improves.
The sun in winter can be dazzling, so keep a pair of sunglasses in your lease car as the glare of the sun can prevent you from seeing the road ahead clearly.
If the weather is particularly windy, slow right down and take extra care when travelling over bridges or on open roads. Keep your distance from high-sided vehicles and give motorcyclists extra space.
Driving in heavy rain or flooded areas can be challenging, so motorists are urged to stay well back from the vehicle in front as the spray can make it harder to see and be seen by other road users. If your steering becomes unresponsive, ease off the accelerator and slow down gradually.
If the rain is particularly heavy, it might be an idea to pull over safely if possible until it eases off. Don’t ever try and drive through a flooded road because you don’t know how deep it is – it’s safer to turn around and look for another route.
If a flooded road is unavoidable, remain in first gear with the engine speed high and drive slowly but only do so if no other vehicles are coming the other way. Drive down the middle of the road to avoid the deepest areas next to the kerb and once through, test your brakes on a flat surface driving very slowly but don’t forget to warn your passengers beforehand!
When driving in snow, use the highest gear available to you to avoid spinning the wheels and brake gently so as not to lock the wheels. Get into low gear sooner than normal and let your speed reduce gradually.
Drive around corners very carefully and slowly, steering gently to avoid skidding. If you skid, don’t brake but ease off the accelerator and steer slightly in the direction of your skid until you get control back.
If you find yourself stuck in snow, avoid spinning the wheels or revving your vehicle, as all this will do is dig your lease car further into the snow. All you need to do is put your lease car into the highest gear possible and manoeuvre slowly backwards and forwards to free the vehicle.
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