Driving in winter can be a tricky, and often a scary thing to do. The conditions are very different from other times of year and we are often less prepared to deal with the hazards these adverse weather conditions bring. The days get longer and darker, and extreme weather such as ice, snow and floods can all affect our driving.
A single journey can take us longer in different weather, traffic and road conditions so it is best to be prepared for each one, and be prepared to adapt quickly and safely.
Brake, the road safety charity, urges you to follow the A, B, C of staying safe in winter and bad weather conditions.
Here’s a recap. Drive safe!
A – Avoid Driving
Of course, this is easier said than done. But if possible, avoid driving in the more treacherous conditions like snow and ice.
If you can, consider alternatives like public transport for a safer journey.
Also speak with your employer in advance about perhaps working from home if possible if conditions are extreme.
B – Be Prepared
Be prepared to face adverse weather conditions even the way is clear when you first leave the house. The best way to be prepared is to:
Prepare your vehicle
Before setting out make sure that your car is in full working, and safe, condition.
- Ensure your vehicle is well-maintained and up to date with it’s MOT and servicing
- Make sure your tyres are in good condition
- Check your battery is in good condition as they are more likely to die in winter
- Clear ice, snow and condensation completely off your windscreen, lights and all windows before setting off. Along with the snow on top of the roof
- Check your brakes and lights are working
- Make sure there’s antifreeze in your radiator and windscreen washer bottle
- Keep an ice-scraper and de-icer in your vehicle during winter
Prepare your journey
- Check the weather forecast before you leave, along with local news in case any roads that you plan to travel on are closed and you have to plan an alternative route
- Let someone know your route and what time you hope to arrive so they can raise the alarm if needed
- Make sure your fuel tank in full or near full incase you get diverted
- Allow extra time when planning your journeys so that you aren’t rushing
Pack an emergency kit
It is always a good idea to keep a emergency kit in your car, especially over winter, in case you get stranded in the cold.
- Include things like a tow rope, a torch, a warm blanket, heavy boots, a first aid kit, de-icing equipment, warm clothes, and emergency rations
- You should also always make sure your phone is fully charged, or keep a portable charger in your emergency kit. But never use your phone whilst driving
C- Careful, Cautious Driving
If you are out in bad weather, and there isn’t anyway to go but forward, make sure you follow these steps to minimise the dangers:
- Slow right down
- Maintain a safe gap behind the vehicle in front
- Be extra vigilant for people and hazards
- Stay in control
- Use your lights
For more information on driving in snow and ice, check out ROSPA’s Road safety factsheet.
We hope this advice has helped assure you of what to do in winter conditions. It is tricky time of year for drivers but the more prepared we are the safer we will be.
If you want to talk to us about anything health and safety related please feel free to contact us here or call on 0141 375 0475.