Thursday, 23 October 2008

Driving in Winter Weather Conditions

During the winter months the roads and driving conditions change to very treacherous environment. Drivers need to be more alert and extra vigilant to avert the possible dangers that may lie ahead.

In particular, take care when driving near schools and homes, where children may be walking and cycling, and around pubs and clubs at closing time, where drunken pedestrians may be about. Of course there are more ‘Merry’ people this time of year as friends celebrate Christmas and attend Christmas parties. These types of road user are very vulnerable as they are both hard to spot in the dark and may act unpredictably.

Not only is it the long nights that reduce driving visibility but also the bad weather that we get in the winter. In heavy rain we should reduce our speed and to keep a good double car length distance between you and the car in front because a wet road surface doubles the stopping distance of our vehicle. In rain, fog lights are a hazard for the motorists behind you, so do not use them. Heavy rain will reduce visibility particularly from vehicle spray. Always use your dipped headlights and reduce your speed.

In cold frosty weather it is important to clear any snow and ice from the windscreen. It sounds obvious but some motorists do try to drive their vehicle when only a small portion of the window has been defrosted and cleared of all obstruction. A spokesperson for Churchill car insurance, said “Motorists should ensure they are prepared for all eventualities in icy conditions. If drivers are having problems with frozen windscreens, it would be advisable to think about purchasing a windscreen cover, or a few bottles of de-icer.” Never drive your car if you cannot see out of the windows.

The onset of wintery weather will also mean your tyres need to be up to scratch. Are the pressures correct for harsh winter temperatures?

It is also important to clean your lights regularly as winter conditions can cover them in grime and dirt which will reduce their effectiveness on the road.

Check weather forecasts and travel information, and if possible tell someone when you expect to arrive. Make sure you’re equipped with warm clothing, mobile phone, food, a torch and spade in case you get stuck.

Do take care when driving this winter and keep your selves and others sharing the roads with you safe.

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