Winter Driving: Avoiding Risks
By Nick Morall, Risk Management Consultant
Before setting off on your journey during wintry weather conditions:
• Ask yourself if your journey is absolutely essential?
• Check local and national forecasts and listen to local radio for regular weather reports and travel updates.
If your journey is absolutely essential:
• Make sure you have a fully charged mobile phone, some spare warm clothes, first aid kit, wellington boots, a spade, blanket, tow rope, hazard triangle and a torch – these all help if you need to be rescued or to rescue another road user.
• Clear your windows and mirrors from all ice and or snow, no matter how short the distance.
• Make sure your wipers, washers and lights are in good working order.
• Always let someone know where you are going, and what time you expect to arrive, so that the alarm can be raised if you do not turn up or if you get into difficulties.
Driving in bad weather
• Give yourself plenty of time for your journey. Leave earlier and don’t hurry.
• Leave three times the normal distance between you and the vehicle in front. It can take ten times longer to stop in icy conditions than on a dry road and being this distance away will also enable you to see more clearly.
• Use the highest gear possible in snow to avoid your wheels from spinning.
• Manoeuvre gently, avoiding any harsh braking and acceleration. If you start to skid, ease off the accelerator but do not brake suddenly.
• Always keep the windscreen and windows clean and the washer bottle filled with screen wash.
• Keep your vehicle well ventilated. The car heater full on can make you drowsy.
• Use headlights when visibility is seriously reduced. You may also use front or rear fog lights but remember to switch them off when visibility improves
• Keep a pair of sunglasses handy - dazzle from winter sun can be dangerous, especially when it's too low for the visor.
• Carry rescue equipment in your vehicle throughout the winter period.
• Stop every 2 hours, if you can, for fresh air and hot drinks - but no alcohol.
• Check your tread depth and your tyre pressure every two weeks. If you are unsure, take your vehicle to your nearest garage and they will advise you as to whether your tyres need replacing and the recommended pressure for your vehicle. Faulty or worn tyres affect the steering, braking and acceleration of your vehicle.
One drink won't hurt, right?
Don’t drink and drive, it’s that simple! Any alcohol affects your ability to drive, there’s no “safe amount.” The only safe option is not to drink alcohol if you plan to drive.
We all have a part to play in keeping our roads safe – please drive safely and take care if you are driving this winter.
If you have any questions or you'd like to discuss your Risk Management polciy, then please contact Nick.Morall@brucestevenson.co.uk for more information.