Snow can be great fun for kids but can also lead to unpredictable and dangerous road conditions for drivers. Driving in snow and icy conditions conditions can be unsettling and dangerous so preparation is key for keeping your family safe on the roads in this hazardous weather. Here are some top tips for winter driving with children from Carzone:
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Driving in wintry conditions can be tricky, for example, black ice can cause skidding, low sunlight reflects off the snow dazzling drivers, and car radiators can freeze.
Before driving in snow or icy conditions, consider if the journey is absolutely necessary, especially when children are involved. If you need to drive then take care and remember to slow down. And do keep your insurance company’s breakdown assistance number handy in case you need to call.
#1. Plan Your Route
Stick to the main roads which are safer and more likely to be gritted.
#2. Avoid Bulky Winter Clothes
Although you want to wrap your little ones up to keep warm, don’t strap your child into a car seat with a bulky coat as it can affect the ability of your car seat to do its job. A bulky coat can compress in a crash and create a loose car seat harness, putting your child at greater risk of injury in the unlikely event of a crash.
To keep your child warm, you can place a blanket (or even the coat) over the tightened car seat belt.
#3. Make Sure You Have a Full Tank of Fuel
Then if you do happen to get stranded you can keep the engine running to keep warm.
#4. Pack a Winter-Ready Emergency Kit
Your kit should include things like
- an ice scraper
- high viz jackets
- necessities like baby food or formula
You may never need these items but it is reassuring to have the kit ready just in case.
You might also find Winter Safety Tips for Families useful
#5. Clear Snow Off The Roof of Your Car
This can easily slide down while driving and block your view again. Also if you leave snow on your roof and it freezes overnight it’s more difficult to get off the next day.
#6. Use Dipped Headlights
When driving in snow or fog make sure to use your dipped headlights so that your visibility is not reduced and you are more visible to other drivers too.
#7. Listen to the Surface
If the sudden crunch of driving on snow stops, you may be on ice.
#8. Drive in a High Gear
This reduces the number of revs and will prevent the wheels spinning.
#9. Turn Slowly
When turning corners approach the corner very slowly and turn the wheel as slowly and gently as possible as rapid turning may cause the vehicle to skid.
#10. Brake Gradually
Allow considerably extra distance when stopping and slow down gradually. Do not brake suddenly as this will cause the vehicle to slide.
#11. If You Skid, Don’t Brake
Don’t brake as this may prolong the skid. Take your foot off the accelerator and wait for the skid to stop.
If you begin to spin, steer the car in the direction the rear of your car is sliding. Don’t overcorrect, or you’ll need to turn in the opposite direction.
Stay safe when driving!
A big thanks to Carzone for providing these tips. Carzone is part of Auto Trader Group plc, the largest digital automotive marketplace in Ireland and the UK.
Over to you now. Do you have any tips or stories about winter driving with kids that you’d like to share with us? Tell us in the comments below.