Driving in Snow

Fresh snow is considerably easier to drive than hard packed snow will be. Hard packed snow has been compressed by other vehicles into a surface resembling your local ice rink. Fresh snow offers far more grip and is therefore more predictable and easier to drive on. However even a layer of fresh snow can conceal a layer of ice underneath it. When driving in snow select the highest gear possible to maintain a steady slow progress along the surface. When moving off use the highest gear possible to help minimise wheel spin and select the centre-locking differential, if you have one, to prevent the axles driving at different speeds. Keep braking to an absolute minimum and avoid harsh applications of the brakes. Conversely the steering movements also need to be smooth kept to a minimum and avoid harsh steering movements. Allow up to ten times the stopping distance requires for normal driving conditions.

If your wheels do start to spin, ease off the throttle a little to help the tyre regain some traction. If forward momentum is lost completely try reversing back to a point that you know you can re-start from and try again with a little more speed. Be careful though as speed is dangerous if you find you need to stop or change direction suddenly. In the worst-case scenario you will have to turn back and find an alternate route

We don’t get that much snow here in the UK and frankly with most drivers here it shows. I estimate that eighty per cent of the population are incapable of driving properly on snowy surfaces. Land Rovers and 4x4’s in general will cope with snow better than most cars will, however you still have to know what you’re doing with them as they are also heavier and take a bit more stopping!

Don’t assume that because you’ve bought a 4x4 you are invincible, cos you’re not!! That is a dangerous attitude to adopt and unfortunately one I come across all too often talking to 4x4 drivers generally. Never venture out in the snow without some emergency supplies with you. If you don’t need them yourself, there is every chance you will come across someone who will need them. Remember the M11 fiasco back in 2003, when literally hundreds were trapped in their cars with no food, water, warm clothing etc.

The road was blocked with no way to escape or to fetch in help for that matter, how would your 4x4 have helped you then?

A survival blanket, change of clothes, warm drink(s) in vacuum flasks or even the little camping cooker, some water, tea, coffee, and milk would have been useful then wouldn’t it?

Useful items to carry in the winter months are; - Shovel, sleeping bags or blankets, fresh water, tea or coffee, sugar, milk (powder), some biscuits, your mobile phone and it’s in car charger, jump leads, Wellington boots and a spare change of dry warm clothing.

In other words ask yourself the question “If you became stranded overnight in the snow somewhere, would you have enough on board supplies to prevent the onset of hypothermia and survive the winter’s night until rescue came the next day?” If the answer is no, then do something about it before you leave home!!

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