Handy hints to keep you safe with winter driving

Scotland has been hit by snow today, with a heavy snowfall in the west of Scotland this morning.

The snowy weather will test the skills of UK drivers this week, says car manufacturer, SEAT, with sub-zero temperatures expected in most regions.

Adverse weather conditions, poor visibility and very low temperatures usually cause a spike in accidents, but the Barcelona-based brand has compiled its tips for tackling the snow with a professional racer and driving expert.

In Innsbruck, the capital city of Tyrol in western Austria, SEAT race driver Jordi Gené explains how to tackle snowy conditions calmly and confidently.

From how to handle inclines to maximising awareness and what to do when parked, adopting these simple tips can make all the difference.

– The golden rule: Gené’s first piece of advice is: ‘“Anticipate what’s ahead and take it easy, that’s the basic rule for driving in harsh conditions.’

– How do you drive down a mountain pass or a steep road in the city?: ‘Using the engine to brake is fundamental. Driving downhill in low gears will help you stay in control and it takes a lighter toll on the brakes.’ This recommendation is especially important in low temperatures when cars can lose grip more easily.

-Stay calm and don’t make sudden manoeuvres: When driving on snow, pay careful attention to dark patches on the road where there could be black ice: ‘It’s important to stay calm and avoid making sudden manoeuvres,’ explains Jordi. ‘You have to turn the wheel gently and lightly step on the brake until you’ve passed the ice patch and the wheels begin to gain grip again.’

– Only use the fog lights in extreme conditions: ‘Their use should be restricted to when visibility is poor’. Fog lights deliver added brightness and are useful during heavy rain or in dense fog, however ‘they can dazzle oncoming traffic if used incorrectly,’ warns Jordi.

– Parking in sub-zero temperatures: Jordi advises putting the car in ‘P’ for park if the car is automatic and either in neutral or first gear if it’s a manual. He recommends ‘putting the wiper blades up so they don’t stick to the windscreen during a snowfall or if the temperature falls sharply.’

Inspecting the vehicle regularly and using winter tyres while increasing the distance to the vehicle in front are further recommendations that will help make winter travel safer.