Safety on the road this Winter

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With the evenings drawing in, and fog and frost beginning to appear once more, road conditions become hazardous.

With the evenings drawing in, and fog and frost beginning to appear once more, road conditions become hazardous.

The evenings are getting darker earlier, and dull, foggy mornings all lead to reduced visibility.

Furthermore, ice and falling leaves can make the road surface slippery.

When making journeys in these conditions, there are several things you should think of.

Is the journey necessary?

Particularly during heavy rain or on slippery roads, you should question whether or not the journey is really necessary. If at all possible, wait until conditions are more ideal for travel.

Plan ahead

Make sure you listen to, watch or read the weather reports in the days leading up to your journey to try and ascertain the most suitable time to travel.

Get your car ready

Make sure your car is ready for the journey and take the necessary precautions to stay safe.

Check your lights and indicators as fog can reduce visibility.

If your car has rear wheel drive the addition of extra weight in the boot (eg a bag of sand etc) will help your wheels to grip.

Check your tyres – pressure, tread depth (minimum 1.6mm) and condition.

Pack the necessities

If undertaking a long journey, you never know when or why you may need to stop and leave your car. For this reason, you should put a Hi-vis jacket, shovel, boots or wellingtons, extra clothing and/or a blanket and a flask in the boot of the car.

You should also ensure that your mobile phone is fully charged, as you may need to call for assistance.

Be vigilant

Reduced visibility and slippery roads mean that you must pay attention to your surroundings more than ever. Keep a sharp lookout for pedestrians, cyclists and other vulnerable road users.

Watch out for black ice, especially in sheltered/shaded areas on roads, under trees and adjacent to high walls.

Take your time

Winter weather will add time to any journey, so it is important that you plan ahead and allow extra time for your journey. It takes longer to stop a vehicle on slippery or icy roads, so slow down and allow extra distance between you and the vehicle in front.

Manoeuvre gently, particularly in snowy or icy conditions; avoid harsh braking, acceleration or steering as these can induce a skid.

Do not drive at speed into floodwater – there may be a pothole or debris concealed in the water and it may cause you to aquaplane, causing you to lose control of the car.

Know what to do

Make sure you are prepared for all eventualities.

Know what you should do in case of skidding, driving downhill, driving in fog, or driving through floodwater. Knowing the right procedure will go a long way in ensuring you get to your destination safely.