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Winter Driving Advise


Christmas may have come and gone but we are still in the depths of winter. And it is actually this time of year where we frequently experience even more snow and ice. At HF, our team of Electrical Contractors, Mechanical Engineers, Fire & Security Fitters and Telecommunication Specialists are always on the move. Our Fire & Security team for example visit some of the most remote and far away ports and harbours in Scotland conducting Fire Alarm testing. And this means that they have to drive on remote roads in dangerous, winter conditions.

We consider all of our employees as part of the family and invaluable assets to our ongoing success. Which is why we ensure that they receive regular health and safety training and reminders such as on driving in snow and ice. And we thought it would be a good idea to share that advice with you.

Driving in snow & ice

Most of us in the UK have very little experience of driving in extreme conditions, such as ice and snow. For safety in these conditions, please adjust your driving style to the weather conditions that you are driving in. Assess and plan your journey thoroughly. Inform someone you know of your route, departure and expected arrival times and regularly consult the weather forecasts as you travel. Always be prepared to alter your route, and only continue on your journey if it is safe to do so.

Prepare Your Vehicle for winter weather

Check: Brakes, lights, battery, windscreen, windscreen wash, wiper blades, windows, anti-freeze, oil, tyre condition, tread depth and pressure.

Emergency Kit

Imagine if you were stranded in your vehicle overnight due to a snow storm or floods. How would you stay warm? What would you eat and drink? How would you contact friends or the Emergency services if you were in trouble?

Think: Warm clothing, blankets, ring pull cans of food, water. Charger for your phone and make sure you have sufficient fuel.

Adapt your driving to the conditions

  • Visibility will probably be reduced, so use dipped headlights.
  • Reduce your speed. you may need up to TEN TIMES the normal distance for braking.
  • Avoid harsh braking and acceleration, or sharp steering.
  • Always reduce your speed smoothly and in plenty of time on slippery surfaces.
  • Slowdown in plenty of time before bends and corners.
  • Braking on an icy or snow-covered bend is extremely dangerous. The centrifugal force will continue to pull you outwards and the wheels will not grip very well,
    causing your vehicle to spin.
  • To brake on ice and snow without locking your wheels, get into a low gear earlier than normal, allow your speed to fall and use your brakes gently.
  • Increase the gap between you and the vehicle in front.
  • Keep your vehicle well-ventilated. The car heater can quickly make you drowsy.
  • In snow, stop frequently to clean the windows, wheel arches, lights and number plates.
  • Frost and ice or snow covering may not occur uniformly on roads. Often there are isolated patches of frost or ice after most of the road has thawed – this commonly occurs under bridges.

If you get stuck in snow

If you do get stuck in snow, revving your engine to try to power out of the rut will just make the rut worse. Instead, move your vehicle slowly backwards and forwards out of the rut using the highest gear you can. If this doesn’t work, you may have to ask for assistance either from a passenger or fellow traveller to push you out or get your shovel out.

If you get caught in a snow drift

Don’t leave your vehicle. Call your breakdown service or the emergency services and let help come to you. Don’t run the engine to keep warm, the snow may prevent
exhaust gasses from escaping.

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