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Winter Driving Safety Tips

MRS Training and Rescue Vehicles in the snow

Winter seems to have suddenly crept up on us and many of us have already experienced some snowfall and frosty conditions.

Vehicle pre-inspections

During the winter months it is important to make sure you inspect your vehicle before setting off on any journeys and extra checks should include:

  • Removing ice and snow from windows, lights, roofs (where practicable) and number plates
  • Using dipped headlights in adverse conditions
  • Driving to the conditions – reduce speed and consider stopping distances as necessary
  • Avoiding harsh braking, acceleration or aggressive steering
  • Using the engine / gear selection to brake rather than brakes when in snow and ice
  • Making sure your mobile phone has a satisfactory level of charge and you have warm clothing available
  • If you get stuck in snow move the vehicle slowly backwards and forwards (using the highest gear possible)
  • Keeping windscreens clear (inside and out) to prevent glare from the low sunshine we encounter in the winter months
     

It’s also a good idea to carry additional equipment in your car including an ice scraper and or / de-icing agent, a shovel and blankets.

Planning your journey
  • Where possible plan your journey to avoid back roads and instead try and use motorways or roads that are known to be well gritted and maintained.
  • Allow yourself additional time, as driving in icy and snowy conditions can drastically alter the travel time to your destination.
  • Be realistic about the distance you’re traveling so you don’t rush to make it there on time.
  • Leave early and try to allow an extra 10 to 15 minutes of driving time.
  • Please be mindful of weather forecast for the day.

Whilst on the road
  • Drop your speed - this may sound obvious during adverse weather but not all drivers think to do this and expect the same braking and steering capabilities from the vehicle as they would do in dry weather.
  • Try to avoid using cruise control on slippery roads – it can become easy to hydroplane on wet winter roads. Hydroplaning happens when your tyres lose contact with the road due to a thin film of water. This can cause your car to skid or slide, and you can lose steering ability.
  • Be aware of your safe driving distance when driving behind a car – dependent on the conditions, try to double the distance you would expect in dry conditions. Many rear-end accidents occur on icy /slippery roads because driver does not leave sufficient stopping space.
  • Try to avoid sudden breaking – this could prevent your vehicle sliding. Stopping on hills could also pose a risk to your vehicle sliding. Remember to pump your brakes gently to come to a safe stop.
  • Be aware of winter sun – glare caused by the angle of the sun may be too low for the visor to assist. If blinded by glare, reduce your speed immediately.


We hope you’ve found these tips useful and they help to keep you safe on the roads this winter.

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