Most motorist’s have been taking extra care in what has been described as the coldest winter in a century, but just as a reminder for those of you who spend a lot of your time on the road. Here are some useful tips that may help you avoid road accidents and potential personal injury claims now the next wave of sub zero dangerous driving conditions are looming.
Plan your journey
· Ask yourself – is your journey absolutely essential?
· Check the local and national weather forecasts; listen to local and national radio for travel information.
· Tell someone at your destination what time you expect to arrive.
· Clear your windows and mirrors before you set out
Carry rescue equipment throughout the winter
Warm clothes and boots
High visibility jacket
De-icing equipment, including scraper
Fully charged mobile (and charger)
First aid equipment
If you get into trouble
· On a motorway, it is best to use a roadside emergency telephone, because the breakdown/emergency services will be able to locate you easily. If you have to use a mobile phone, make sure you know your location from the numbers the marker posts on the side of the hard shoulder.
· Abandoned vehicles can hold up rescue vehicles and snowploughs. To ensure that the road is cleared as quickly as possible, stay with your vehicle until help arrives. On a motorway, stand behind impact barrier on hard shoulder
· If you have to leave your vehicle to get help, make sure other drivers can see you.
· Keep the lights, windows and mirrors clean and free from ice and snow.
· Keep your battery fully charged.
· Add anti-freeze to the radiator and winter additive to the windscreen washer bottles.
· Make sure wipers and lights are in good working order.
· Check that tyres have more than 2mm of tread and are maintained at the correct pressure.
Adjust your driving to the conditions
· Hail, heavy snow and rain reduce visibility…use dipped headlights and reduce your speed.
When roads are icy or slushy
· It can take ten times longer to stop in icy conditions. Drive slowly, allowing extra room to slow down and stop.
· Use the highest gear possible to avoid wheel spin.
· Manoeuvre gently, avoiding harsh braking and acceleration.
· To brake on ice or snow without locking your wheels, get into a low gear earlier than normal, 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.
Watch out for fog
· In foggy conditions, drive very slowly using dipped headlights.
· Use fog-lights if visibility is seriously reduced, but remember to switch them off when visibility improves.
· Don’t hang on to the tail-lights of the vehicle in front. This gives you a false sense of security and means you may be driving too close.
· Don’t speed up suddenly, even if it seems to be clearing. You can suddenly find yourself back in thick fog.
· Dazzle from winter sun can be dangerous. Keep a pair of sunglasses handy.
Take care around winter maintenance vehicles!
· Salting vehicles
Salting vehicles travel at speeds of up to 40 mph spreading salt across all lanes of the carriageway. Drivers are advised to maintain a safe distance behind them. Do not attempt to overtake.
· Snow ploughing
Snow ploughing can throw up irregular amounts of snow that may be a hazard to vehicles. Drivers are advised to maintain a safe distance behind vehicles and not to attempt to overtake.
Drive safely to avoid road accidents. If you have suffered an injury on the road recently that was due to someone else’s neglect on the roads then you may be eligible to make a car injury claim