Stay Safe on the Road This Winter

Driving in poor weather can be a nerve-wracking experience, especially when teamed with all the tragic news stories about people being injured or killed in accidents at this time of year. The first and best way to stay safe this winter is to stay off the roads unless you have a serious and urgent need to be out and about in poor weather. Whenever possible delay travel until conditions improve, and pay particular attention to the weather forecast around the time you want to travel – you may even have to travel earlier to avoid a spell of ice, snow or sleet.

Take Care Out There

Even experienced drivers can become flustered or panicked when driving in poor weather. Once you have determined that you must make the journey, allow yourself extra time to get there. Concentrate on the road ahead, looking for possible hazards and not taking any chances. Be aware that your brakes can take longer to activate on icy patches so stay alert, ready to respond instantly if necessary. Pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists should all be wearing high visibility clothing, but sometimes are caught out after dark with no choice but to travel in darker clothing. Drive very defensively, assuming that other road users may not be as careful and as experienced as you, and leave generous gaps between yourself and the cars in front of you.

Slow and steady is the Way

Drive slowly and carefully, and if you do feel the car skidding or sliding on the icy road DO NOT PANIC! Remain calm and keep driving steadily. The worst thing to do on a slippery patch is to try and brake – but this is what we instinctively want to do! Drive into the skid and keep going until you feel that the tyres have regained their traction, at which point you can pull safely to the side and take a deep breath or two!

Winter Tyres to Get a Grip

To help your vehicle to grip the road better, consider fitting winter tyres to your car as soon as the temperature drops into single figures. Finding winter tyres is no longer a major chore as there are numerous sites such as that can guide you through the whole process of finding the right winter tyres for your car at the best possible price. Winter tyres grip the road better, and can help with braking time too, making your winter driving experience a safer one.

Winter Car Kit: Essential Survival Tool

Make a point to carry a winter car kit, from a trusted resource, in the vehicle at all times in case of breakdowns. Your winter car kit should include basic survival gear such as a blanket and some food, a first aid kit and an emergency flare or two and triangles to warn other drivers. Make sure your phone is fully charged before you leave home, so that you can call for help if you need to.

Good To See You

Make sure that you can see well, so take the time to clear all the windows and windscreens before you drive. Every now and then you see pictures of drivers who have only cleared a plate-sized patch of windscreen, leaving a thick layer of snow over the other windows and the rest of the windscreen – this is unbelievably dangerous for all the other road users as well as the driver.

Take a Break

It is unwise to drive for a long time without having a break, even when conditions are optimum. Take a twenty minute break every two hours, having a drink, comfort break and stretching your legs in the fresh air. If these revival breaks do not work and you feel yourself becoming tired and sluggish, considering pulling over for a nap or spending the night in a hotel. It is better to arrive late, than to not arrive at all…