As I walked into Waitrose yesterday to buy some shopping,  they had moved everything else around and for a moment I couldn’t quite get my bearings. The next thing I noticed was the headline on the front of one of the national newspapers: WORST WINTER for DECADES. Record breaking snow predicted for November.

This started me thinking about how the average driving school pupil would respond to this kind of statement.

What would you do:

  • Feel afraid at driving in the snow.
  • Avoid your driving lesson, like you would the plague.
  • Question the competence and logic of the Driving Instructor willing to take you out in this kind of weather.
  • Pretend you’re ill, so you don’t have to go.

Then other questions started to pop in:

  • Do I have to cancel my lesson, if it snows. I don’t want to
  • What is different about driving in the snow, to driving in dry conditions
  • I would like to learn to drive in the snow, will an Instructor take me out, if I want to go

Suddenly there are all different thoughts running through your mind, where the week before, when the roads were snow free, none of them had popped in.

Well here at A Pass 4 U, I hope we can answer a few of these questions. Bring some peace of mind, to those of you who are starting to worry about driving in adverse conditions and give you food for thought when considering driving in a harsh English winter. When and if it arrives.

At a Pass 4 U, all our Driving Instructors are qualified to teach you in all sorts of weather conditions. In fact, experiencing some adverse weather when you are learning to drive is probably a good thing. No matter how scared you might be. Remember, at this point you have a fully qualified, competent instructor by your side. As you learn to drive in a dual control vehicle provided for this purpose.

Of course, they will always assess the level of risk depending on day, situation, level of experience of the learner driver and the adverse conditions on the roads, before taking out a pupil. Remember to let your Instructor know how you feel before starting your lesson, so that they can help and support you to move through this process, as easily and smoothly as possible.

Here are a few tips given by the DSA, as rules of the road.

 Before you set off

  • you MUST be able to see, so clear all snow and ice from all your windows
  • you MUST ensure that lights are clean and number plates are clearly visible and legible
  • make sure the mirrors are clear and the windows are demisted thoroughly
  • remove all snow that might fall off into the path of other road users
  • check your planned route is clear of delays and that no further snowfalls or severe weather are predicted.

When driving in icy or snowy weather

  • drive with care, even if the roads have been treated
  • keep well back from the road user in front as stopping distances can be ten times greater than on dry roads
  • take care when overtaking vehicles spreading salt or other de-icer, particularly if you are riding a motorcycle or cycle
  • watch out for snowploughs which may throw out snow on either side. Do not overtake them unless the lane you intend to use has been cleared
  • be prepared for the road conditions to change over relatively short distances

Highway Code - Rule 229 Make Sure Your Windscreen Is Completely Clear

Drive extremely carefully

  •  when the roads are icy. Avoid sudden actions as these could cause loss of control. You should
  • drive at a slow speed in as high a gear as possible; accelerate and brake very gently
  • drive particularly slowly on bends where loss of control is more likely. Brake progressively on the straight before you reach a bend. Having slowed down, steer smoothly round the bend, avoiding sudden actions
  • check your grip on the road surface when there is snow or ice by choosing a safe place to brake gently. If the steering feels unresponsive this may indicate ice and your vehicle losing its grip on the road. When travelling on ice, tyres make virtually no noise.

All of the above guidance is taken from the Gov.UK website

Your driving instructor will explain to you how to drive on the road, if and when a lesson arrives on one of our wonderful, wintry, snowy days. If you can get your head around it, you will discover that it is one of the most valuable driving lessons you will ever have.

Can I take a driving lesson in adverse conditions if I have passed my test and hold a full driving licence?

Of course. Who wants to learn to drive, only to take the bus once passed because they have no experience of driving in these sort of weather conditions and are now too scared to go out in it.

Remember if this applies to you as a holder of the full driving licence, then there is no shame in approaching a driving school such as A Pass 4 U and requesting a driving lesson to help you get over this obstacle. Driving lessons are not necessarily just for learners but are also there for fully qualified drivers that may need that bit of extra help or want to brush up on a few things. Which is why they are called driving lessons and not learning lessons. So if you fancy updating your skills, to enable you to drive responsibly in the snow, are too afraid to go out on your own to learn, then remember this is what driving instructors are  for. You will not be judged negatively in taking this course of pro-active learning, to boost your confidence and make the roads safer for you and other drivers.

Will My Test be Cancelled if it Snows?

This all depends on the test centre. It is best to ring on the day of the test. AM or PM, depending on your test time. Liaise with your Instructor and he will advise.

If you have any queries or concerns about driving in winter conditions. Please call A Pass 4 U on 08458 121007. They’ll be happy to help you in finding an instructor to assist you with your driving concerns.