No matter how long you’ve been driving, the winter months brings with it some unique challenges. From blinding sunlight and falling snow, to sudden ice patches and flooded roads, the roads can be treacherous and unpredictable. So as the temperatures begin to fall, what should you do to stay safe on Britain’s roads?
It might sound obvious, but research suggests that up to half of us fail to check the weather forecast before setting out. Remember, no trip is so important that it’s worth taking unnecessary risks for. Being prepared for winter includes being ready to change your plans if severe weather is expected.
Every year thousands of motorists get stranded, enduring freezing temperatures at a time when the emergency and breakdown services are stretched to the absolute limit.
With this in mind, it’s important to always carry some additional warm clothing, blankets and some basic nourishment to keep you going until help arrives. It’s also worth keeping a basic ‘safety kit’
in the vehicle, including:
- High visibility jacket
- Warning triangle
- Serviceable spare tyre
- First aid kit
- De-icer and screen wash
- Jump leads
- Sunglasses (for winter sunshine)
And remember, in more extreme conditions, it is also worth taking boots or sensible shoes with a strong grip, as well as a piece of carpet or a mat which can be placed under your tyres to create the necessary traction to get the vehicle moving again.
Whatever the weather looks like outside, if you do decide to drive, always remember your COAST skills:
Concentration: Driving always requires your full attention. Phone calls, texts, eating or checking your appearance, should all be done before or after your journey begins.
Observation: Always remember to check, check and check again before making any manoeuvre, and never assume other drivers are doing the same.
Anticipation: Expect the unexpected. After all, precautionary steps are always safer than evasive ones. Think about what could happen and how this is likely to affect you and those around you.
Space: Allow plenty of space and time to brake gently and remember that other drivers may skid or change course without warning.
Time: Allow a bit of extra time for your journey and be prepared to take an alternative route, even if that makes for a longer journey. It’s better to arrive slightly late than not at all.