Each season offer different hazards to drivers throughout the world. Here we have our top 10 pieces of advice for driving during the winter months.
1. Always keep your car windows clean – if you can’t see through them sufficiently, you can’t drive safely. Even when they are steamed up or covered in ice, make sure your view is not restricted. Also, keep your screen-wash reservoir is topped up to allow you to clean your windscreen on the move.
2. Keep your headlights clean as well. Use dipped headlights in times of impaired visibility. If you keep the lenses free of dirt, the lights themselves will be more effective. Familiarise yourself with the operation of your headlights, main beam, fog lights and parking lights where appropriate.
3. Keep your antifreeze level topped up.
4. Keep your sunglasses with you in the car. In winter when the sun is low in the sky, it is still important to use your glasses to improve your vision. Also be aware of other road users who are suffering in the sunlight.
5. Always plan your route in advance. Keep on the main roads if there is snow or ice about. Minor roads are much less likely to have been cleared and are therefore much more dangerous. Be aware that satellite navigation systems do not necessarily know the weather conditions!
6. Listen to weather reports. It may be good weather as you set off on your journey, but bad weather could easily move in. Knowing the weather forecast in advance allows you to plan for the worst scenarios.
7. Keep plenty of warm clothing and emergency supplies of food, water and equipment in the car. Even the best forecasts can be incorrect – you never know what might happen. It is better to be unnecessarily prepared than caught short.
8. Have your car serviced before winter starts. Batteries and other components can fail at the worst possible times. Get everything checked out before bad weather arrives.
9. To brake safely on ice or snow without locking the wheels, get into a lower gear earlier than normal, allow your speed to drop and use your brakes gently. Be aware that anti-lock braking is not there to allow you to drive faster than the conditions allow.
10. In icy conditions, increase the clearance between you and the vehicle in front. You may need to allow up to TEN TIMES the usual distance for braking.