Winter Tyres for Driving in the Snow and other Top Tips.

Winter Tyres on a Perfect Winter Car

My Road is Kinda Long, I Just Gotta Get Back Home.

pop quiz: the lyric above is from what song and artist? clue: you can do doughnuts in an American car to get you back to me.

When driving in Winter in much of Europe it is a legal requirement to have winter tyres or carry snow chains or both. Year round it is often also compulsory to carry hi-vis jackets, spare bulbs, a warning triangle and a breathalyser(!).

The first serious snow of the UK Winter is forecast to hit soon. I can predict the chaos that will ensue on the roads. People trapped in cars overnight. Cars sliding into one another. Much blame being put on local councils. But why?

Now, I am not suggesting that everyone goes out and buys the perfect snow car . But with just a little bit of fore-thought most people could avoid getting themselves into difficult situations on the road. I accept that buying a set of Winter tyres is costly. But tyres are a car consumable and if you don’t have your ‘normal’ tyres on your car for two-three months a year, they will last longer. Makes sense to get a set to me!

Even without the expense of Winter tyres most of us could be better prepared. Here are a few thoughts and suggestions:

  1. Footwear. You’ve gone from your central heated home to your car to the office and back again in your smart leather shoes. They are not waterproof and may even have a heel. Is it hard to throw a pair of wellies into the boot? Then if you need to get out of your car in the snow, you’ll be much safer and more comfortable.
  2. Clothing. Same thing, you’ve gone from your central heated home to your car to the office and back again in your short-sleeved shirt. Throw a fleece and waterproof coat into your boot; you’ll be safer and warmer.
  3. Gloves. You can pick up a pair of builders’ or gardeners’ gloves from the likes of B&Q or Screwfix for a couple of quid. If you need to get out your car to dig snow or push your vehicle, protect your ‘office hands’ with a pair of gloves.
  4. Food & Drink. In Britain you are probably not going to starve before you get rescued if your vehicle gets stuck in snow. However, simply having a flask of hot water in the car could seem like a life-saver if you are stuck in your car in the dark and cold.
  5. Shovel, Cat Litter, Tow Rope. Help yourself, and/or others to get clear of the snow. A shovel can move a lot more snow than you can with your hands and you stay warmer and dryer too. Cat litter thrown under your tyres is an effective way of helping them to gain purchase in snow and ice. If you carry a tow rope make sure you know where your towing eye is and how it works.

Please everyone, stay safe. Don’t drive in snowy conditions unless you really have to. If you have to, make sure you are properly prepared and take responsibility for your own safety and that of other road users.

pop trivia: American soul and R&B group, ‘The Detroit Spinners’ recorded a mash-up of ‘Working My Way Back to You’ and ‘Forgive Me Girl’, the lyric is from this version which topped the UK singles chart for two weeks in April 1980.

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