Driving During the Winter
The winter season brings a wide variety of different weather conditions. As a result driving hazards increase considerably. For the past two years, the UK has been given a dramatic reminder of how tough the winter can get between the months of November and March.
When you look at the statistics year on year, there are nearly 7,000 more accidents on the roads than during the rest of the year.
Although the weather that comes to mind the most during the winter is generally snow and ice, wet road conditions can be just a dangerous. Part of this is that when driving on snow and ice, drivers slow down, whereas when it becomes wet they do not tend to change their driving habit or speeds.
The number of accidents caused by wet road conditions increases nearly threefold in the winter, whilst drivers are five times more likely to skid in snow and ice than in dry road conditions.
It therefore pays to make sure that your vehicle is properly prepared for the British winter. Here Blackcircles.com gives you some handy hints and safety advice to make sure you and your family remain safe on the roads over the winter period. One thing to strongly consider first of all though, is the fitting of winter tyres during the winter months.
Prepare Your Car
- Make sure that you keep your car in a good working order. By booking a car service before the bad weather hits, you are significantly enhancing your chances of staying safe when on the roads over the winter period.
- Keep the engine oil topped up. Check the levels regularly.
- It is very important to keep the coolant levels topped up as well. A 50/50 mix of antifreeze to water will protect the engine to a temperature of –34 C. Remember to make sure you have plenty of screen wash as well.
- Having your tyre’s at the correct air pressure is very important. Tyres inflated at an incorrect level will adversely affect handling and can increase fuel consumption. When checking your tyres, don’t forget about your spare tyre.
- Keep checking your tyres’ tread depth to ensure they are at an optimum level. The legal tread depth is 1.6mm across 75% of the tyre; however experts recommend that you change your tyres once the levels is below 3mm.
Driving In the Winter
- Avoid travelling in severe weather conditions - unless it's an emergency. If you do go out, keep to the main roads wherever possible.
- Carry an emergency kit in the car. Food, a hot drink, a blanket/coat are essential, as are items such as an ice scraper, de-icer and a warning triangle. Take a spade if it’s snowing or if snow is likely. A tool kit in your car will also be invaluable.
- Before setting off on your jounrey, fully clear any snow from the roof and windows. Snow on the roof can be a danger both to you and other road users.
- Use gentle manoeuvres when driving in ice and snow and use second gear when pulling away to avoid wheel spin. In general use the highest gear possible to help create traction. When braking on ice or snow shift into a low gear earlier than usual. Then allow your speed to fall and use the brake pedal gently. If you start to skid, ease off the accelerator but do not brake suddenly.
- If you get stuck straighten the steering and clear the snow from the wheels. Put an old rug (or something similar) in front of the wheels to give the tyres grip. Once moving, don’t stop until on safer ground. If you do get stuck in snow don’t leave your vehicle unless safety is nearby.