Safer Driving In Big Freeze Conditions As The UK Temperatures Drop
23rd December 2009
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 This is a message to all watch members and key individuals from Harborough Local Policing Unit.

With heavy snow and even colder weather forecast to start in the next 24 hours – Harborough police would offer the following advice which has been taken from the AA Winter Driving Advice pages.

Please pass this message to as many people as you can – you may help to prevent an accident or worse. Your help is truly appreciated.

Preparing to travel

Get up at least 10 minutes early to give you time to prepare the car.
Don't drive off like a tank-commander, with a tiny hole cleared in your windscreen. Clear all windows of snow and ice using a scraper and de-icer.
Use a cigarette lighter to warm a key for a frozen lock. Don't breathe on the lock, as the moisture will condense and freeze.
Besides an ice scraper and de-icer, it's worth carrying a mobile phone with fully charged battery, torch, first-aid kit, tow rope, blankets, warm coat and boots, jump leads, snow shovel, warning triangle, an old sack or rug (to put under the wheels if you do get stuck) and water repellent spray.
Plan routes to favour major roads which are more likely to have been gritted.
Put safety before punctuality when the bad weather closes in. While it's always a good idea to allow extra time in winter for your journey, drivers must accept the inevitability of being late for work if they are caught up in an unexpected delay.

Driving in snow and ice

Stopping distances are 10 times longer in ice and snow.
Gentle manoeuvres are the key to safe driving.
Wear comfortable, dry shoes: cumbersome, snow-covered boots will slip on the pedals.
Select second gear when pulling away, easing your foot off the clutch gently to avoid wheel-spin.
Try to maintain a constant speed, choosing the most suitable gear in advance to avoid having to change down while climbing a hill.
When driving downhill, choose third or fourth gear to prevent skidding.Always apply brakes gently. Release them and de-clutch if the car skids.
If you have an automatic, then under normal driving conditions (motorways, etc) it's best to select 'Drive' and let the gearbox do the work throughout the full gear range. In slippery, snowy conditions you can make driving much safer by selecting '2', which limits the gear changes and also makes you less reliant on the brakes. Many modern autos have a 'Winter' mode which locks out first gear to reduce the risk of wheel spin. Check the handbook if you're not sure.
If you do get stuck, straighten the steering and clear the snow from the wheels. Put a sack or old rug in front of the driving wheels to give the tyres some grip. Once on the move again, try not to stop until you reach firmer ground.

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