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Slippery, icy roads: how to drive safely on them

Driving in Britain at the height of the winter period can represent a real challenge to even the best and most experienced of motorists. A combination of weather conditions such as snow, rain and freezing cold – which create layers of ice on the surface of the roads – coupled with the long hours of darkness limiting visibility, makes driving at this time of year something to be done only when absolutely necessary. However, for many of us, it simply is necessary to be on the roads in winter, meaning it is important to know how to manage them safely.

The previous point is the first thing to remember: when the roads are covered in black ice, it is best to avoid driving at all unless your journey is essential. Drivers are generally warned to stay off the roads if at all possible in such weather, but some still choose to drive when there are other options available If you absolutely have to use your car in such weather, one of the first things you should look to do is to check the windows, mirrors and lights to ensure that all are working correctly before setting off. Visibility in Britain during winter is poor anyway, and the ice on the roads is often difficult to see, so you need to give yourself the best possible visibility.

The next thing to do is to plan your journey before leaving to try to stay on the major main roads as much as possible. This is because these will be more likely to have been covered with grit by local councils than the smaller back roads, plus the increased traffic on these roads will have made them easier to negotiate. If you are living in a remote, rural locale, it may be worth considering buying specialist winter tyres for the bad weather periods, as these areas will be less likely to have gritted road surfaces.

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