With the inevitable turn in the weather are you sure that you’re prepared for driving in inclement conditions? If not this could be a recipe for disaster. To make sure that you stay safe and on the road this season, follow this checklist when preparing for any journey:
• Check your headlights! You MUST use headlights when visibility is seriously reduced.
• Can you stop? In wet weather, stopping distances will be at least double those required for stopping on dry roads. This is because your tyres have less grip on the road. In wet weather
• Keep well back from the vehicle in front.
• If steering becomes unresponsive, ease off the accelerator and slow down gradually.
• Remember the rain and spray from vehicles may make it difficult to see and be seen.
• In winter check the local weather forecast for warnings of icy or snowy weather. DO NOT drive in these conditions unless your journey is essential. If it is, take great care and allow more time for your journey. Take an emergency kit of de-icer and ice scraper, torch, warm clothing and boots, first aid kit, jump leads and a shovel, together with a warm drink and emergency food in case you get stuck or your vehicle breaks down.
• You MUST be able to see, so clear all snow and ice from all your windows.
• You MUST ensure that lights are clean and number plates are clearly visible and legible.
• Make sure the mirrors are clear and the windows are demisted thoroughly.
• Remove all snow that might fall off into the path of other road users.
• Check your planned route is clear of delays and that no further snowfalls or severe weather are predicted.
If you find your car
starting to skid:
Accelerating too hard can also cause skidding. In icy conditions, some wheel spin may be inevitable. To minimize the spin try engaging a higher gear.
Braking hard on a slippery road can also cause your car to skid. Your wheels can lock up and you will continue onwards with little or no braking effect. The locked wheels will also prevent you from steering. If this happens you should release the brake pedal to free the wheels then reapply the brake very gently.
On a slippery road if you start to skid when turning a corner:
• Remove your foot from the accelerator. This throws the weight balance of the car forwards and helps the tyres find grip.
• Do not use the brake.
• As the tyres find grip, carefully steer the car in the direction of the skid. For example, if the rear of the car skids to the left,steer smoothly to the left.