04 December 2012 by Gareth Evans

  • Severe weather takes its toll on motorists
  • Plan your journey so you use only major routes
  • Our guide shows you how to stay safe on the road

The UK is due for more severe winter weather and snow-covered roads this year. It may be picture-postcard material for photographers but the weather never fails to take its toll on unprepared motorists.

The conditions last year saw a record number of calls to breakdown companies, with many unable to get to work hitting the economy hard.

At Parkers our team of expert drivers have come up with a few tips on how to beat these adverse conditions...

  • Leave extra time to defrost the windows and let the engine warm up before you head into the winter winds.
  • Plan your journey well in advance and try to stay on major routes as these are more likely to be gritted.
  • Try to carry a spare set of shoes in the car as your boots may slip on the pedals after being out in the snow.
  • Do not make any sudden manoeuvres. Accelerate, steer and brake in a gentle fashion. Smoothness is the key.
  • To avoid wheel spin on snow, consider choosing second gear for pulling away and don't use too much throttle.
  • Try to make sure you brake in a straight line and brake in a progressive manner - if you brake mid-corner you will run the risk of skidding.
  • If you do lock the brakes up, release the brake pedal to gain control of the vehicle again.
  • Try to keep a large gap between you and the vehicle in front of you as you will need up to ten times more stopping distance than you would in the dry.
  • Do not stop on a hill if possible as you will struggle to get traction when you go to move off.
  • Descending hills should be completed in a controlled manner - choose a low gear and when possible refrain from using the brakes, instead letting the engine assist in slowing the car down.
  • If you do get stuck, clear the snow from the driven wheels and if you have a sack or an old rug in the car, lay this in front of the driven wheels and this will aid traction to get you going again.

Parkers' top tip:

In our opinion, the best thing you can do is fit a set of winter tyres. Our comprehensive guide is here, including videos showing the differences between 'normal' and winter tyres.