Go slow in the snow
7th January 2010
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You don't need me to tell you it's treacherous going out there in the snow.

Whilst most of the major roads around Canterbury and Kent are clear, many minor roads are still heavy going, and snow or no snow, ice and slush are still making the roads very hazardous.

With most of the national tabloids running articles about people spending 15 hours trapped in their cars in 10-mile motorway tailbacks (some of those with babies - beggars belief how they coped), we really do need to be sensible.

I'm not one for letting a little bit of snow stop real life (and after all, compared to residents of Alaska or Alpine mountainous regions, this is a little bit of snow), but let's face it, because this doesn't happen very often, we're quite inexperienced at it and often unprepared. Most drivers on the road aren't used to driving on ice and snow, and the slightest mistake or lapse of concentration causes havoc.

Kent police have issued warnings that for the next few days - with more heavy snow expected as we approach the weekend - people should venture out only if necessary and with caution. They have issued the following advice for staying safe on the roads:

Check the weather forecast and road conditions before you travel.

Make sure you have full visibility before driving, taking time to de-mist and de-ice all windows

Poor weather conditions mean it can be harder for drivers to see, so use your lights.
When the roads are wet and icy it can take twice as long to stop your vehicle, so slow down.
In poor visibility be extra alert for hazards.
Carry warm waterproof clothing, food, water and a torch in your vehicle in case weather conditions mean you have to stop.

Make sure you have plenty of fuel for your journey before you set off.

Use the highest gear possible to avoid wheel spin. Manoeuvre gently and avoid harsh braking and acceleration. If you start to skid, gently ease off the accelerator and avoid braking. If braking is necessary, pump the brakes don't slam them on.

If you get stuck, stay with your car and tie something brightly coloured to your aerial

Pedestrians and cyclists, so be vigilant and make sure you can be seen however you are travelling this includes using lights or wearing high visibility clothing.

For updates and information about road conditions on motorways and trunk roads, check the Highway Agency website at www.highways.gov.uk.


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Ben Jackson is a freelance writer and photographer with The Little White Studio.

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