A GUIDE TO WINTER DRIVING
The British winter is unpredictable. Severe weather conditions can arise when least expected and can be extremely dangerous if you’re on the road.
Driving is a risky business at the best of times- 9 people die on UK roads every day, so hazards such as darkness, rain, fog, ice and dazzling sunshine only add to the danger.
If you must drive, make sure you are prepared for the conditions:
• Only drive if it’s absolutely necessary and don’t be afraid to turn back if you think the conditions are too treacherous.
• Make sure your windows are completely clear before you start driving.
• If you’re driving to meet someone, let them know where you are travelling and when you expect to arrive.
• You may need to leave as much as 10 times the normal recommended gap between you and the car in front.
• If you do encounter a skid. Steer into it- for example, if the rear of the car is sliding to the right, steer to the right. Do not take your hands off the steering wheel or stamp your foot on the brakes.
• Controls such as brakes, as well as the steering, accelerator and even gear changing should be operated both smoothly and slowly.
• A higher gear may be more appropriate to aid the tyres gripping when moving off on packed ice.
Certain precautions need to be taken when driving in different weathers:
• Rain: Potentially dangerous, Spray off vehicles, standing water, Aquaplaning, Use dipped headlights and reduce your speed.
• Hail: Unpredictable, can cause absolute blindness to drivers, normally advisable to pull over and wait, Always use dipped headlights, slow down and increase your stopping distance, Beware of the road conditions after the storm has passed.
• Fog: More frequently in winter, density may vary, freezing fog is extremely dangerous, reduce your speed, use dipped headlights and Fog lights (100m), take extra caution at junctions.
• Snow, Large Wet Flakes: Slow down and corner gently, Use the same tracks and beware of the snow compacting.
• Snow, Powdery Snow: Initially blows over the road surface, very quickly fills gaps in road surface, can become sheet ice, drive with extreme caution.
• Snow, Slush: Beware on dry strips of road they can be just as slippery, changing lanes can become hazardous, maintain a slow speed especially when driving over ridges of slush.
• Snow, Ice: Normally the result of overnight temperature drops, most dangerous at the thawing out stage, Black ice is an invisible danger, treat all your controls delicately, avoid braking on corners.
• Strong Winds: Beware of exposed roads, Try not to move from shelter and overtake in cross winds, unladen vehicles with large surface areas are most at risk, bad cases can cause the vehicle to wander or even be lifted.
• Winter Sun: Set lower in the sky in winter, causes a dazzling glare, glasses and sun visors are a must, avoid looking directly into the sun, The effect can be made worse by wet roads, reduce your speed.
Op BLACKTOP Snow & Ice vehicles
RAF Coningsby MT is responsible for the snow clearing and ice prevention by pre-treating the Main ASP and surrounding areas. MT use two main vehicles in order to maintain the runways:
Liquid Airfield De-Icer Sprayer
The Liquid Airfield De-icer Sprayer (LADS) has been procured to effectively and accurately apply liquid chemical de-icer to their airfields. It is self propelled, equipped with the capacity of 10,000 litres and will be fitted with a hydraulically controlled airport snowplough. The vehicle is fitted with a spray system that can deliver a metered amount of fluid de-icer media of between 20 to 40 gm/m2 over widths of 3m,12m and 24m.
Anti-icing is the application of chemicals that not only de-ice, but also remain on a surface and continue to delay the reformation of ice for approximately 6 hours depending on temperature and prevents adhesion of ice to make mechanical removal easier.
Airfield Snow Clearance Vehicle
The Airfield snow clearance vehicle (ASCV) has been procured to ensure military runways and aircraft operating areas are clear of snow. It is fitted with a 5600 mm airport snow plough. Between the axles is a 914 mm dia x 4200 mm long broom with a max speed of 900 rpm, adjustable and road speed related. At the rear of the machine high speed jet blowers are fitted which can produce a max appropriate velocity of 500 kmh. This jet sweeper was developed as a high-performance device for the rapid disposal of snow on airfields. Clearing, sweeping and blowing as a compact unit in one vehicle means high mobility and high clearance performance.
If you are driving within the camp area and see any Snow and Ice Vehicles, please allow them plenty of room. They are carrying out essential Station tasking to keep the airfield and surrounding areas clear and safe.