8 Top Winter Driving Tips
Now that we are into the autumn and winter months, the clocks have gone back and the days are getting shorter, we always see an increase in the number of road accidents. The purpose of this article is to encourage you to adopt some safe driving practices which could not only save you the inconvenience of being involved in an accident, they could also save injury or even save someone’s life. So please take a few moments to read through these 7 top tips to stay safe when driving this winter and apply them to your own driving .
1. Leave longer for your journey
With the winter conditions people become more cautious when driving. Rain, mist, fog, snow or ice make people incredibly nervous when driving and therefore they move off more slowly from junctions. The impact of hundreds of people driving more slowly means that you will not get from A to B as quickly as you will do during the summer months, so you must allow more time for your journey. If you do not you might find yourself driving more impatiently to reach your office, the school or an important meeting. Allowing more time for your journey reduces the chance of you causing or being involved in an accident.
2. Leave a safe distance from the car in front
Following on from item one, you must also make sure that you leave more room than usual from the car in front. If the roads are wet or slippery it will take you longer to stop, so leaving more room could save you from colliding with the car in front causing the poor soul to suffer a whiplash injury. Stay safe, leave plenty of space!
3. Tread carefully
Make sure your tyres are in good condition and have good tread all over them. Any bald spots could cause you to skid when breaking causing a collision with a car in front or a wall if at a junction. Checking your tyres and replacing them if necessary will reduce the chances of an accident.
4. Braking News
You really do need to ensure that your brakes are working well. Now is not the time to have juddery or poor performing brakes. Have your car serviced to ensure that the brakes are good, your brake fluid and engine oils are topped up to the appropriate levels and you will be safe on the roads. A few pounds spent now can save a considerable amount of money and pain later.
5. Breaking News
If you are on long journeys you must take regular rest breaks. It is more tiring driving in wet or dark conditions. Your reaction times reduce rapidly when you are tired, so to ensure that you are in peak form you must rest regularly. Yes it will add a few minutes to your journey but at least you will get to your destination, which might not be the case if you do not take adequate rest breaks.
6. Fill Your Boots!
Yes, literally! Fill your car boot with all the necessary equipment that you will need to keep you safe. Make sure you have de-icer, ice scrapers, a spade, extra jackets and blankets, and a warning triangle and high visibility vest so that if you do breakdown you do not cause an accident by being invisible.
7. Never Assume
Assumptions are never wise when the hazard is hazardous precisely because it is so difficult to identify and prepare for. Don't assume that main roads and motorway will be free of ice. Don't assume that your wheel and tyre will last the entire journey. Don't assume you will make the entire journey without breaking down. Don't assume that the car in front can react in time to hazards. Never assume, and you might (or might not) be fine!
8. Stay In
If the conditions are really bad, do not make your journey but stay in the warmth and safety of your own home. Sometimes it is really not worth the risk.
This is part of our “Accident Prevention” series, designed to prevent as many accidents and injuries as possible. Loyalty Law, preventing accidents and injuries when we can, or protecting you from unscrupulous insurance companies, claims companies and solicitors when we can't.
Prevention is always better than cure, so please do stay safe over the autumn and winter months by following these easy initial steps to improve your safety!
Approaching the winter season should always start with a good check of your car to ensure that it is as safe as it can be. Whilst there are some obvious checks, there are also some other points that you need to consider to ensure that your car and all of its occupants are as safe as they can be over the winter months. Take as many precautions as possible, especially if you're going to be attempting a long journey.
Prevention is always the better option rather than cure, so you should start with the best method of protecting your safety that is available; ensuring that your car is serviced. This will make sure that you have the right oil levels and will reduce the chances of your car breaking down or worse still colliding with another car. Winter is the worst time to break down, and the wet or icy conditions that often prevail mean that your breaks need to be in their best possible condition to allow you to stop safely in the wet. A service will also ensure that your lights are working so that you are visible to all other drivers when it is dark.
It is also vital that your tyres are given a thorough examination to ensure that their tread levels are even and that there they will still plenty grip the road well when you need to brake sharply. Often if your car tracking is not aligned properly your tyres might wear unevenly which again can lead to them losing grip. You should also look for any chunks of tyre missing which might have happened if you have driven into a kerb or just through wear and tear. These might lead to a blow-out, which if happens at speed can be very dangerous to your own car and others around you. You should also refer to your car manual and ensure that the car pressures are all at the right levels. This ensures that they operate at their optimum capacity and again will reduce the chance of an accident.
Windscreen Wipers And Washers
Ensure that your windscreen wipers are clean and that when they clear the window they do not leave any smears in your line of sight. In the darker and wetter conditions of the winter this can make a substantial difference to the safety of your driving.
Specialist Winter Car Care Equipment
During the winter month there are certain items of additional equipment that you should also carry in the car with you. These are items that may keep you safe if you break down, or help you to recover an accident situation if you are first on the scene.
These items should include:
- A fully inflated and safe spare wheel and tyre
- De-icing equipment such as a windscreen scraper and windscreen spray
- A torch
- A towrope
- A first aid kit
Ensuring that your car is well prepared for the winter gives you the maximum opportunity of avoiding or reducing the risk of injury after a car accident. If you have found this article useful, please pass it on to your friends and family to keep them sage also.
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