WEATHER: Stay safe in the snow

Central Edinburgh as heavy snow showers continue in Scotland. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday December 6, 2010. Britain woke to sub-zero temperatures again today, paving the way for another week of bitterly cold weather. See PA story WEATHER Snow. Photo credit should read: David Cheskin/PA Wire
Central Edinburgh as heavy snow showers continue in Scotland. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Monday December 6, 2010. Britain woke to sub-zero temperatures again today, paving the way for another week of bitterly cold weather. See PA story WEATHER Snow. Photo credit should read: David Cheskin/PA Wire

With snow being forecast in the Coleraine area over the weekend, the police have advised motorists to take extra care in the wintry conditions.

Police would also advise motorists to be mindful of the security of their vehicles.

In a cold spell most people have a tendency to switch the engine on and leave the vehicles running.

This is a gift to nearby opportunistic thieves who just jump into the vehicles and drive off.

While it is good practice that all windows should be thoroughly thawed and cleared before driving Police would advise motorists to sit in the vehicle for the few minutes it takes to clear windows and heat the interior. Drivers should not switch their engines on and get out to scrape the exterior of their vehicles as cheeky thieves could take this opportunity even though the owners are close by.

Tips for safe driving:

• Slow down and leave plenty of room to stop. You should allow at least three times more space than usual between you and the car in front of you

• Brake gently to avoid skidding. If your wheels start to lock, ease off the brakes

• Turn on your lights to increase your visibility to other motorists and always clear all ice and snow off the car windows before setting out

• Drive slowly on snow in the highest gear possible.

• Never overtake snowploughs or gritting lorries. The drivers have limited visibility, and you’re likely to find the road in front of them worse than the road behind

• Do not assume your vehicle can handle all conditions. Even four-wheel drive vehicles can encounter trouble on winter roads.

Police would also advise for anyone unlucky enough to get stuck in snow:

• Do not spin your wheels. This will only dig you in deeper. Turn your wheels from side to side a few times to push snow out of the way.

• Use a light touch on the accelerator to ease your car out.

• Use a shovel to clear snow away from the wheels and the underside of the car.

• Pour sand, gravel or salt in the path of the wheels – or even your foot mats - to help get traction.