Dark, icy roads can spell trouble if you don’t know how to handle the conditions.
In winter, driving conditions can be tricky, so we’ve put together a handy rundown of essentials to make sure you stay safe no matter what the elements throw at you.
Check the weather forecast before you set off
We all know how unpredictable the UK climate can be, and when it comes to driving, knowing what you’re up against is so important. Make sure you check weather forecasts before you set off, so you’re prepared come rain, shine or snow.
Make sure you have breakdown cover
You’re 27% more likely to have an engine cut out in winter, and you’re 18% more likely to find yourself in a car that won’t start in the colder months, too. It’s also a lot less comfortable waiting to be recovered in sub-zero temperatures, So, it’s crucial you have adequate breakdown cover.
Pack a winter emergency kit, and keep it well stocked
It’s really important to make sure you’re prepared for the car to break down, or for adverse weather conditions, especially in winter. There are few essentials we’d recommend keeping in the boot throughout the entire winter months, these include;
Blanket/extra warm layers
High vis jacket
First aid kit
Empty fuel can
Food and drink
Check your car is prepared
You might be ready for the winter, but is your car? As conditions become more tricky, it’s even more important that we make sure our brakes are working properly, our tyres are safe, batteries are fully charged and our fluids levels are right. Don’t forget about your lights, either, it’s worth checking them all, regularly, to make sure none are out.
When you’re driving in winter, slow down. The roads can be icy and wet, so you should leave yourself up to ten times the amount of stopping distance from the car in front to avoid any skidding or sliding turning even more dangerous. Whatsmore, you can minimise the risk of said skids by not braking harshly, to do this, you’ll need to go slower and make use of your gears to control speed to allow yourself to brake slowly. Pay attention to your revs counter, too, keeping them as low as possible.
Plan your journey before you set off
Make sure you know exactly where you’re going before you set off – if the conditions are poor it’s especially important to make sure you have no other stresses because you’ll already have a tricky journey in front of you. You can use the Moto Route Planner to help keep you headed in the right direction, but make sure you check it prior to setting off – it’s illegal to use a mobile phone or amend a sat nav (that isn’t hands-free) whilst you’re driving.
The more juddery your driving, the more likely you are to be caught out by ice or snow. So, minimise the risk by being gentle with your vehicle. Don’t apply too much power or brake too abruptly, and definitely, don’t take your feet off the pedals. Pay close attention to what’s coming up ahead, and prepare for corners, traffic lights and junctions well ahead of time.
Allow yourself room
Don’t tailgate. Not only is it a careless driving offence (that can land you with 3 points and £100 fine) but it can also cause serious collisions (if that happens, you risk a driving ban and even a prison sentence). In winter, you need more stopping distance, so that means you need to leave a bigger gap between you and the car in front of you. Tailgating is also one of the biggest causes of road rage in the UK, so to keep everyone safe, make sure you’re mindful over how close you are to other vehicles on the road.
Check your visibility
Make sure you can see where you’re going throughout your journey. This means making sure your windscreen is deiced before you start your journey, and that you can see out of both the front and back. It also means making sure you demist properly and make proper use of fog lights, headlights and full beams.