Road Safety Advice for Winter Driving
Winter Driving Tips
When driving in winter you should expect the unexpected when it comes to the weather and always be prepared for extreme weather conditions. Winter driving can be hazardous and as such here are some helpful tips and precautions for a safer winter driving experience.
Before you set off on any journey check the weather forecast - Check the conditions of your route and your destination. If bad weather is expected consider how necessary your journey is. If possible delay your trip and wait for an improvement in the weather. If using the road is unavoidable drive with due care and caution.
Check your vehicles Tyres – Your tyres are the only contact your car has with the road. Your tyre threads should meet the legal requirement of 1.6mm. The tyre pressure should also be checked and should be set at the manufacturers recommended amount if they are to provide the motorist adequate grip and traction.
Avoid Comprising your visibility – De-fog or de-ice your windscreen before setting off on your journey. Don’t use boiling water on your windscreen as this can cause the windscreen to crack. Use a de-icing spray and a scraper. Ensure the water bottle for your wipers is topped up and contains anti-freeze. Remove all snow from your car to prevent it from dropping onto your windscreen if you stop or accelerate suddenly. Also clear your side windows and mirrors so that you can see clearly in all directions.
Check your lights and use them – Turn on your dipped headlights in winter even during the day to increase your cars visibility to other road users.
Increase your stopping distance – In wintry conditions your cars stopping distance decreases therefore you should slow down and allow enough space between you and the car in front of you so that you may stop safely when required.
Expect the unexpected – Where possible we recommend you carry the following items in while driving in winter:
- A fully charged mobile phone
- De-icing spray and ice scraper
- A working torch Hi Vis Vest
- A hazard warning triangle
- Ensure your spare wheel is in good condition or if your car has an inflation repair kit ensure that you are familiar with how to use the kit.
- A blanket to keep you warm while you wait for help in case of breakdown
What to do in the event of a breakdown – Where possible ensure your car is off the road. You should apply the hazard lights and put out your hazard warning triangle to the rear of your vehicle to alert other road users. If you are on a motorway it is recommended that you leave the vehicle and get behind the road barrier and up the embankment where possible. Call for help on your mobile phone or use the roadside telephone.
If your car skids – try not to panic, turn the steering wheel in the same direction as you want to go and avoid slamming on the brakes.
Black Ice – Be weary of sheltered or shaded areas on roads, under trees or under high walls. Black Ice is very difficult to see so always be alert.
Slow Down – everything takes longer on icy or snow covered roads, so take your time.