Starting your car
The sun may be rising later and later, but you need to get up 10 minutes earlier. This will give you time to take a quick look at your car, check the travel news (having planned any unusual routes in advance), de-ice your car and let the engine warm up. Getting up early, or maybe even being a few minutes late for work, is a small price to pay for your own peace of mind and safety.
If your car fails to start, it’s often the battery that’s the problem, especially if it’s getting close to the end of its five year typical lifespan. If all you hear is a little click or nothing at all when you turn the key, you’ll need a helpful friend and a pair of jump leads. If this happens repeatedly, either your battery needs replacing or you have a faulty alternator.
If the roads are genuinely dangerous – covered with snow and ice, with traffic warnings recommending against travel - reconsider whether you need to head out at all. In ice and snow, stopping times can be 10 times longer, so expect to drive slower and make gentle manoeuvers.
- A second gear start with gentle clutch movement will help you avoid wheel spin
- Apply brakes gently. Disengage the clutch and release the brakes if the car skids
- Take downhill stretches slowly and in low gear, avoiding brake use. Leave ample room between you and other road users
- Uphill stretches should be taken with similar amounts of space – this allows you to avoid having to stop halfway up. Keep a constant speed and avoid changing gears
- If you’re driving an automatic in slippery, snowy conditions, put your car in ‘2’ to restrict gear changes or use a ‘winter’ mode if you have one (this restricts the use of first gear)