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Warning sign snow ice
Chloe Martell profile

Chloe Martell

January 23, 2019

Driving advice News 4 min read

This week, news and weather reports state that we’ll be experiencing blankets of snow, frost, ice and thunder as temperatures plummet across the UK. Many will have woken up to icy conditions today, and it’s set to get much worse. This, in turn, means the thought of driving can be hugely daunting, especially for new drivers who may not have experienced driving in this kind of weather before.

What will the weather be like?

The weather this week is set to take a turn for the worse, with some parts of the UK reaching temperatures of -10C before the end of the week.

The Met Office has warned of thundersnow, which is pretty much what it sounds like. It’s a thunderstorm that happens when the temperature drops and it starts to snow. Lightning can appear much brighter than it would in a normal thunderstorm because the light reflects off the snowflakes.

This will, of course, have an effect on anyone who gets behind the wheel, especially if they’re doing so in the middle of thundersnow which will most likely be seen in northern and westerns parts of the UK.

Unfortunately, there is no avoiding treacherous weather but there are some things you can do that should help, should you decide to drive.

1. Car checks

Performing simple yet necessary car checks will help you when making a journey in this weather. Ensuring that you check your tyre pressure, oil levels and headlights are all working is essential, because if you’re battling the weather on the roads, having no lights is a very dangerous situation to be in.

2. Be realistic

Whilst you may think the trip to the shops is needed, you need to ask yourself if the journey you’re going to make is essential! If it isn’t then it’s simple – don’t go! Also, check in with schools and workplaces that they’re still open – as some may be closed if the weather gets too bad.

3. Practise if you can

If this will be your first time driving in the snow and ice, it’s likely you’ll not have a clue what to do and whilst you can read up about how to control a skidding car, it’s different when it’s actually happening. You can get some more practical help by:

  • Talking through how to handle this weather with experienced drivers like your parents
  • Taking a skid pan training class
  • Asking an experienced driver to show you how they handle driving in snow/ice
  • Getting an experienced driver to accompany you driving the first time you head out

4. Allow extra time

You’re simply not going to be able to drive at the same speed as normal in bad weather conditions, so you need to allow yourself extra time on your journey, this includes time to completely de-ice your car before setting off – clearing all windows completely so you have full visibility.

5. Be alert

If you head out on the roads you really need to make sure you’re awake and alert to everything that is going on around you. Double checking mirrors, slowing right down, watching what other motorists are doing are all essential, even more so when driving in the snow and ice.

6. Be prepared

Make sure you’re prepared for your journey and stock up on a few things in your car. It may seem overly cautious, but you’ll thank yourself should you breakdown and be stuck in your car. Consider packing:

  • Food and water
  • Blankets
  • Fully charged phone
  • Torch
  • Extra clothing like coats for all passengers

We cannot stress enough that this weather is very dangerous to drive in, especially if you’ve never done it before which many young drivers haven’t. If you need to drive, check out our Winter Driving Guide, where you’ll find lots of helpful tips on driving in adverse weather conditions. And remember, if you don’t have to drive, then it should be avoided.

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Chloe Martell profile

By Chloe Martell

'As a new driver, I'm so eager to share my driving journey with you all - from when I was a learner, going through my test and all the aspects of my driving life now, including my love of cars!'  See more posts by Chloe

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