Winter Driving Tips
Safe driving during the winter months is an important part of your responsibilities as a motorist in the UK. With the current unpredictable nature of the weather in this country, it is imperative you have all the personal and in-car facilities to deal with most eventualities.
Winter weather can often close in suddenly and come when you least expect it. If you set off from home under clear skies, it is no guarantee that after a short time into your journey the skies can leaded and it be snowing heavily. The worst scenario possible is to breakdown due to inclement weather or a mechanical problem and be left stricken in the midst of a storm, with no means of contacting anybody.
Before you set-off always check your route and the weather forecast before you leave, and listen to travel bulletins while you are on the road. If the weather is very bad, don’t drive unless your journey is essential. Wait until the weather improves. If it is possible to delay your journey to see if the weather clears then make this decision. There are also some pre-journey checks you can make on your vehicle:
• Ensure the lights, windows and mirrors are clean and free from debris, muck, ice and snow
• Add anti-freeze to the radiator and winter additive to the windscreen washer bottles
• Make sure brakes, wipers, heater, exhaust system and lights are in good working order
• Check that tyres have plenty of tread depth and are maintained at the correct pressure
• Make sure you know if your vehicle is front or rear wheel drive
• It is also a good idea to take along water, food, warm blankets and extra clothing
• Put an extra car key in you pocket. It has been known that motorists have locked themselves out of their car when going outside to open the bonnet
• If you live in Scotland or in areas renowned for heavy snow fall, try and carry tyre chains. Make sure they are the proper size for your tires and are in working order.
Your driving style in the winter also needs to be re-assessed. There are many factors which can come into play during the winter months. For example many local authorities will use salt and grit on the roads, black ice is common where temperatures dip low enough and aquaplaning is a real possibility after or during heavy rainfall. Take note of the following road safety advice:
• Reduce speed in bad weather
• Increase stopping distances
• Avoid sudden acceleration and braking
• Use dipped headlights in poor conditions
• Take breaks every two or three hours
• Listen to travel bulletins
• Observe information on (motorway) Variable Message Signs