As forecasters warn of snow and ice for the UK, SEAT racer and driving expert Jordi Gené has provided practical tips for safe driving in winter conditions.
The Spanish racing driver has been driving for SEAT since 2003 and has compiled his top taps for how to tackle snowy conditions calmly and confidently.
SEAT’s winter driving tips:
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 Gené.
Parking in sub-zero temperatures: Gené 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, using winter tyres or even authorised snow chains while increasing the distance to the vehicle in front are further recommendations that will help make winter travel safer.