posted 6 years ago

Met Office Issues Ice Warnings

The Met Office has issued ice warnings for most of the UK.

The Met Office has issued ice warnings for most of the UK. As such - for the early/middle part of this week at least - extra care is required in: Southern England, Eastern England, the Midlands, Yorkshire and Humber, Northern England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and parts of Scotland. Areas such as Grampian, the Highlands, and Fife could also get snow. The best advice for motorists is, of course, not to travel unless absolutely necessary. However, those who must can take steps to minimise the risk. The first is to fit winter tyres. These have more grip than standard compounds in low temperatures, and on snow and ice. An alternative is to fit snow chains/socks. But not any chains or socks ... like tyres they should be the right size for the car. Prices start at £60 for socks and £100 for chains.

Furthermore, the Institute of Advanced Motorists has a few tips to help motorists cope:

- “Ensure you have de-icer and a scraper. Before setting off, make sure you clean any ice or condensation from all the windows and mirrors to optimise visibility.

- When you set off, do so in second gear, releasing the clutch and accelerating gently, avoiding high revs – this will prevent wheel spin.

- As you drive, stay in higher gears and don’t drive too fast to avoid losing control.

- Stopping distances are increased by up to ten times in icy conditions, so leave plenty of distance between your car and the car in front. Plan so that you’re not relying on your brakes to stop - on ice they may not do that for you.

- If your car loses grip, take your foot off the accelerator, and point the front wheels where you want to go.

- Keep to the main roads as they’re more likely to be gritted. Also bear in mind that after the frost has gone, ice can remain in areas which are shaded by trees and buildings.

- Where you park can help reduce your risk of being involved in someone else’s accident. So look for off road parking where possible or gritted roads if not.

But there is more to consider. Thousands of vehicles breakdown every winter because they have not been properly maintained. So … get yours serviced regularly. Whereas this can be expensive in the short term it tends to be cheaper long term. Half the point is to fix small problems before they become expensive, after all. A lose fan belt, for example, can be fixed in moments for very little money. But ignore it and the car could overheat, breakdown, and require far more expensive repairs. Check the battery too. It is better to replace it early than find yourself stuck in the middle of nowhere. It is also wise – in addition to the de-icer and windscreen scraper - to pack a: snow shovel, fluorescent jacket, electric pump, and warning triangle. It is also important to have warm cloths and food in case of breakdown or delay. Both, of course, are more likely in winter. Good luck.