Snow: A child's dream, a drivers worst nightmare.
On Friday for the first time in a few years, snow had decided to show up, and it definitely made it's presence known...
Pictures are taken from outside my house this morning, but it definitely doesn't match what we've seen the past few days. We rose from our slumber at 7am on that Friday morning, to the delightful squeals of joy from the younger children, one of which had never seen snow like this before. Mum had already had to head out to take the father to work, inevitably she was late home to take the four of us to three different schools. As seen in the above photos our road is more or less a hill, in this weather, it becomes a hazardous, obscene, colossal wreck of a hill. Upon entering the street and turning around down the bottom, my mum attempted to make her way up the hill while the next door neighbour kindly started shifting snow and ice off the road. A very long while later, the car managed to at least make it to the front of the house, however the snow and ice were not intent on letting us get any further up the hill, until me and my brother eventually had to get out and exert force upon the rear of the car to help push it upwards, which worked a treat, however there was just more chaos to come. The roads were layered with snow, ice and sludge, the minutes rolled by, every muscle clenched and tensed as we drove along slowly and steadily on our way to school. We made it eventually, 10 minutes late that is, upon arrival I was told 4 teachers had been in accidents and half of the teaching staff weren't in anyway because they couldn't even make it off their driveway. By 10am, the school had decided to close, and my mum had only just dropped my youngest brother off at his school, the fun began all over again when schools decided it was best for them to close too, my mum had spent a total of 3 hours in the car that morning and was closer to a breakdown than the car was.
Today most schools have been closed, and schools have also been reported closed for tomorrow too, a perk for me, who doesn't love a day off school? Although, it can usually never be fun for people on the road, now it's time for some facts and statistics:
About 70 percent of accidents that happen in the winter are car related accidents in the UK, most of which involve younger drivers, and so why this article is targeted specifically to this tribe if you're wondering, and so I would -as always- like to offer some advice to those younger drivers who may not have driven in snow or icy conditions before, its horrendously dangerous and it's so important that you drive carefully so you can avoid accidents, this doesn't just apply to those in the UK, but to anyone who will experience these conditions.
Carry a first aid kit, jump leads/jumpstarter, shovel, de-icer/antifreeze, blanket, warm clothes, flashlight, phone charger as part of an emergency kit when going out on the road during the snowy and icy conditions. It's also a good idea to make sure your fuel tank is full before you go out to keep the fuel line from freezing. Another useful tip learnt from my mum, is to fill a bottle of water and place it on the radiator closest to the front door the night before if your expecting low temperatures, if your windscreen is frozen the day after, the bottle should consist of warm water, pour this over the frozen windscreen and quickly put the wipers on to avoid the water freezing up again, this saves the effort of having to scrap the ice away or having to buy de-icer.
Protect your car.
If possible, put you car in the garage at night. If your only option is to leave your car on the driveway, put a protector over the windscreen to avoid having to de-ice it, or if you want to go all out, you can buy a protector to cover the whole car, which can stop snow falling on the car and stops anything from freezing up. The law states you must be able to see out of every glass panel in your car, so always be sure your car is fully de-iced and that you can see clearly before you set out.
An obvious one, but if you're anything like Jeremy Clarkson and think power is the answer to a situation such as this you are incorrect, you're more likely to cause accidents. If you are suddenly slipping, it's important to NOT slam the brakes on, as this will cause you to skid even more, dab at the brake pedal and turn your wheel from side to side constantly, 10 minutes left, 10 minutes right until you have regained traction again.
Leave yourself enough stopping distance.
In normal conditions you need to be at least 2 seconds away from the car in front, it needs to be a lot more than that in winter conditions, as your stopping distance will be increased due to icy road surfaces. Be cautious, if you know you are approaching traffic lights or a junction, get down to a low gear and brake as soon as you possibly can.
This picture was taken on Friday not too far away from where I live, a gritting lorry had lost control and ended up upside down on the side of the road. -Picture taken from Cannock Chase Radio on Facebook
As you can see the winter conditions can take it's toll, it's massively important that drivers take care on the road in these conditions. If you have any questions, or any other advice to give make sure to comment below :)