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Driving in icy and snowy weather

View profile for Robert Donlan
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What to do if you are injured as a result of winter weather

With the winter weather sticking with us and more snow warnings appearing daily, here is a reminder of the Highway Code in respect of driving in icy and snowy weather and recommendations as to what to keep in your car’s boot in the event of difficulty:

The Highway Code states that before you set off:

  • You MUST be able to see, so clear all 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 demisted thoroughly
  • 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 snowfalls or severe weather are predicted.

The Highway Code also states when driving in icy or snowy weather you should:

  • 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.

The Met Office also recommend that drivers keep the following items in your car's boot to make sure you're ready in case of getting stuck in cold and wintry weather.

  • An ice scraper and de-icier
  • Torch and spare batteries (or a wind up torch)
  • In-car phone charger
  • Warm clothes and blankets
  • High visibility clothing
  • Jump leads
  • Empty fuel can
  • Food and drink
  • Shovel
  • Reflective warning sign
  • Road atlas
  • Sunglasses

Please be careful during the coming weeks and consider stocking your car with the appropriate equipment, as listed above.