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Driving in fog/snow


Answer

Driving in icy and snowy weather

In winter check the local weather forecast for warnings of icy or snowy weather. DO NOT drive in these conditions unless your journey is essential. If it is, take great care and allow more time for your journey. Take an emergency kit of de-icer and ice scraper, torch, warm clothing and boots, first aid kit, jump leads and a shovel, together with a warm drink and emergency food in case you get stuck or your vehicle breaks down.

Before you set off

  • you MUST have a full view of the road and traffic ahead, so clear snow and ice from all your windows
  • you MUST ensure that lights are clean and number plates are clearly visible and legible
  • make sure the mirrors are clear and the windows are de misted thoroughly
  • remove all snow from your roof and bonnet, to avoid it slipping or being blown over your windscreen, or flying into the path of another car
  • remove all snow that might fall off into the path of other road users
  • check your planned route is clear of delays and that no further snow falls or severe weather are predicted.

When driving in icy or snowy weather:

  • drive with care, even if the roads have been treated
  • keep well back from the road user in front as stopping distances can be ten times greater than on dry roads
  • take care when overtaking vehicles spreading salt or other de-icer, particularly if you are riding a motorcycle or cycle
  • Watch out for snowploughs which may throw out snow on either side. Do not overtake them unless the lane you intend to use has been cleared
  • be prepared for the road conditions to change over relatively short distances
  • Listen to travel bulletins and take note of variable message signs that may provide information about weather, road and traffic conditions ahead.

Drive extremely carefully when the roads are icy. Avoid sudden actions as these could cause loss of control.

You should:

  • drive at a slow speed in as high a gear as possible; accelerate and brake very gently
  • drive particularly slowly on bends where loss of control is more likely. Brake progressively on the straight before you reach a bend. Having slowed down, steer smoothly round the bend, avoiding sudden actions
  • check your grip on the road surface when there is snow or ice by choosing a safe place to brake gently. If the steering feels unresponsive this may indicate ice and your vehicle losing its grip on the road. When travelling on ice, tyres make virtually no noise.


Answer

Whilst there is no specific offence relating to snow on a vehicle's roof and bonnet, it is advisable to remove any loose snow before commencing your journey. If it slips or is blown over the windscreen, or flies into the path of another car, it could cause a hazard for you or another road user and could leave you open to being penalised for a number of offences, such as 'driving without due consideration' or 'using a motor vehicle in a dangerous condition'.

See links in Related Information for advice on driving in winter conditions.


Answer

Snow chains are lawful in the UK. However, the law provides that tyres must be suitable having regard to the use to which the vehicle or trailer is being put or to the type of tyres fitted to its other wheels. This could mean that a person may commit an offence if they use snow chains when there is no snow.

Additionally, only consider using snow chains where the road surface is covered in a protective layer of compacted snow/ice. If you try to use chains on a road that has been cleared of snow you risk damaging the road (you could be prosecuted for this) or your vehicle.

Before fitting snow chains make sure you can use them on your vehicle. Chains make wheels wider and so they may catch on bodywork, they can also interfere with electronic wheel sensors.

If you have any doubts about the whether you can fit snow chains, consult your vehicle's handbook or an approved dealer.

Please see the related website for further information.

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