The Beast from the East is here - but what can UK motorists learn from their Siberian counterparts about driving in bad weather?
With the UK currently shivering under a cold spell as weather blows in from Siberia, motorists across the country may face delays and disruptions.
With British winters much milder than those in Siberia, drivers here are far less experienced in dealing with snow and ice.
In the Siberian town of Oymyakon temperatures were as low as -40 degrees Celsius this week, yet drivers faced few, if any, delays.
Car supplier LeaseCar.uk have looked at how Siberians deal with snow and ice and have compiled ten top tips UK motorists can learn about driving in the cold.
Spokesman Tim Alcock said: “Siberian drivers would think our Beast from the East was a summer holiday. They have to dig the snow off their cars every time they get behind the wheel.
“Yet they manage to keep the roads open and life goes on. So we thought it could be interesting to find out what UK drivers can learn from those in Siberia.”
Here are Leasecar.uk ten top tips from Siberia:
- Winter tyres are a legal requirement. In Siberia you could face arrest if your car isn’t fitted with winter tyres. If the snow persists for more than a few days it might be a good idea to visit your local tyre centre and make sure you’re well equipped for the ice.
- Windscreen wipers are heavy duty. In Siberia wipers have to contend with heavy snow on a daily basis and therefore are fitted with thick rubber. If your wipers aren’t fit for purpose consider replacing them.
- Oil is engineered not to freeze or clog. Believe it or not motor oil can start to solidify if the temperature is low enough for long enough. Cars in Siberia use synthetic oil to ensure this doesn’t happen.
- Screen wash must be anti-freeze. This one is a no brainer. If you’ve been topping up the screen wash with tap water think again.
- Snow ploughs are bigger and better. In Siberia the authorities take snow clearance very seriously. They use wheeled vehicles called Golden Claws, they have huge crab like claws to scoop up the snow and dump it to the side.
- Siberian drivers can handle a skid. They drive on the ice pretty much year round so have learned not to hit the brakes if their car skids. Instead they take their foot off the pedals and let the wheels roll. Keep the tyres rolling until they can grip again.
- Siberians know their brakes. Ask any Siberian and he or she will be able to tell you exactly what kind of brakes their vehicle is fitted with and how they work. Because different types of brakes can react differently in the snow. Make sure you check your manual to see what kind of brakes you have and understand their limitations.
- Don’t power up hills. You might think that accelerating up hills will get you off the ice faster but in ice you’re more likely to wheel spin out of control. Just take it nice and easy and remember to plan extra time for your journey.
- Take time to stop. Siberians give themselves plenty of time to brake. If you are venturing out on the roads in the snow make sure you brake gently and give yourself time to slow down.
- Stay home. Siberians understand that sometimes the only safe option is not to get behind the wheel at all. Although it’s unlikely they would be phased by the kind of winter conditions we see in the UK - even with the Beast from the East.