Check lights and window wipers
are functioning correctly. Keep your battery
fully charged. You should check your
tyres are safe with sufficient tread and the
correct tyre pressure. In wintry
conditions there are steps that can be taken
that may help you with your journey.
Must you make the journey?
Check local and national radio or the
Highway Agency's weather alerts for travel
weather information so you know what to
expect. Always clear your windows, mirrors and
lights before you set off on your journey, and
make sure you have a window ice removing scraper
and de-icer. Prepare some warm clothes, boots,
food and torch, mobile phone if you have one and
a spade if it is snowy conditions. Don't attempt
to use the spade to dig yourself or others out
unless you are healthy enough to do so, it may
be useful to lend to someone else. Tell someone
about your journey's destination and estimated
Snow, hail, fog and rain can
all reduce visibility so slow down and use
dipped beam headlights. If you get
into difficulties whilst driving in wintry
conditions there are steps you can take that may
help. If motorway driving the emergency roadside
phones may be the best to use as the rescue
services will easily be able to locate you. If
you must use your mobile phone then ensure you
know your location from the marker posts at the
side of the hard shoulder which are numbered.
Never use your mobile phone whilst driving,
either ask a passenger to make the call or stop
in a safe place to make the call. Snow ploughs,
emergency vehicles need clear access, so
stay with your vehicle until help arrives.
Abandoned vehicles may slow down or even stop
the road being cleared quickly. If you must
abandon your vehicle to get help try to leave
your vehicle as far over to the side of the road
as possible and make sure you can be seen by
other drivers avoiding
pedestrian accidents. When
driving in icy, snowy or slushy conditions slow
down and stay alert.
It can take a much greater
distance to stop on icy, snowy or slushy roads
than it does on a dry road, so allow plenty of
room to slow down or stop and drive slowly but
safely. When braking on icy, snowy or slushy
roads get in a low gear early, allow your speed
to fall and brake gently trying not to lock your
wheels. If you start skidding ease off the
accelerator and avoid braking suddenly causing
the wheels to lock.
Whilst driving use the highest
gear possible, it will help you avoid wheel
spin. Manoeuvring, accelerating and braking
should be done gently to help avoid skidding.
In Foggy conditions there are things you should
be prepared for. Drive very slowly in foggy
conditions using dipped headlights. Fog can be
extremely patchy, and if visibility is reduced
drastically fog lights should be used, not
forgetting to turn them off again when
visibility improves sufficiently.
Don't follow the lights of the
vehicle in front of you, this can give you a
false sense of security and may mean you are
driving too close. If you think the fog is
clearing don't accelerate quickly, it could be
patchy and you may find that you are in thick
fog again very soon. What you can
expect from snow ploughing and salting vehicles.
Snow ploughing can leave behind large and
irregular snow piles which may be hazardous to
other vehicles. If you are driving behind one
keep a safe distance and don't try to overtake
it. Gritters or salting vehicles can spread salt
across all the lanes of a carriageway and can
travel at up to speeds of 40mph. You should not
try to overtake and should keep a safe distance
behind; if the salt is hitting your vehicle you
are too close.
Drivers of winter service
vehicles will take all reasonable precautions to
protect other road users. The Highways Agency is
an executive agency of the
Transport. They are responsible for the
motorways and major 'A' roads in England.
They aim to prevent
accidents in wintry conditions by
pre-treating and clearing roads under their
jurisdiction. In rainy and flooded
conditions you should be aware of the following.
The stopping distance for drivers in wet
conditions will be at least double of that on
dry roads due to tyres not gripping as well in
Travelling vehicles will give
off spray making it difficult to see and be seen
in wet weather. Keep your distance from the
vehicle in front, it allows you better
visibility so you can plan for whats ahead.
Steering may become
unresponsive in the wet when your tyres lose
grip, slow down by gently releasing the
accelerator. In flooding stop if you think the
water is too deep for your vehicle.
If crossing deep water try to
find a path across the shallowest part, often by
the kerb will be the deepest. Drive slowly in
first gear through flood water, but keeping the
engine revs high by slipping the clutch, this
will help in preventing you from stalling. It is
important to test your brakes to ensure they are
working correctly after you have crossed flood
water before you drive off at normal speed.