Winter Weather

The weather reduces a driver’s ability to stop quickly for two main reasons. It reduces visibility, meaning drivers take longer to spot hazards, and the vehicle’s tyres have less grip on wet road surfaces, which means it takes longer to stop, and in the worst cases, the driver may lose control of the vehicle and skid.
In very bad conditions, avoid driving completely, unless you absolutely have to make the journey and driving is the only option.It’s a good idea to have your vehicle fully serviced before winter starts.It is very important to adapt your driving according to the weather and road conditions:

CHECK YOUR TYRES – Your grip will be seriously reduced in the winter, so ensuring your tyres are in good condition is essential. Whilst law requires you to have your tread depth at a minimum of 1.6mm, grip starts to reduce on anything under 3mm, so make sure you keep an eye on your tyres and replace them if needed.

KEEP YOUR DISTANCE – Your stopping distance on snow and ice increases significantly from what it usually is, what might usually be 2 seconds can increase to you needing to leave a 10+ second gap. This means that driving too close to the person in front of you is a terrible idea because you simply won’t be able to stop in time.

REMOVE SNOW & ICE – Before setting off on your journey, make sure you remove all snow and ice from your windows and roof to comply with the Highway code.

TOP UP YOUR OIL/COOLANT – If your oil needs topping up, find the oil filler cap in your engine bay. This should have the word ‘oil’ on it or an outline of an oil can.Take off the oil filler cap and carefully pour your oil in using a funnel. The difference between the min. and max. notches on a dipstick is about a litre of oil. So, if the level was on or below minimum when you checked it, you’ll need to pour in about 1l.
If you don’t know how much you’ll need, add a little at a time. Wait a couple of minutes to let the oil run down into the bottom of the engine and then recheck the level on the dipstick. Putting too much oil into your car is just as bad as having too little. So make sure you don’t overdo it.

DRIVE AT SAFE SPEED  – Whilst the speed limit sets the maximum speed for the road, in poor weather it can be dangerous to drive at the limit. Reduce your speed to give you more time to make observations, and reduce your braking distance.

LEAVE SAFE DISTANCE BETWEEN YOU AND THE CAR INFRONT – Braking distances are increased on wet roads, so you need to ensure you have plenty of space to brake into. Vehicles will also create spray in the wet and you need to ensure that this does not restrict your visibility.

DRIVE SMOOTHLY – Avoid harsh braking and acceleration, or sharp steering.

VISABILITY – The reduced visibility may affect how other road users see your vehicle too, and you should not assume that they have spotted you. When you spot another vehicle, always try to plan what you would do if they manoeuvred or pulled out, because they had not seen you.

GIVE CYCLIST’S PLENTY OF ROOM –  They may need to move out or manoeuvre to avoid large puddles or drain covers.

USE DIPPED HEADLIGHTS – Rain reduces your ability to see and greatly increases the distance required to slow down and stop. Remember that you will need about TWICE your normal braking distance. Use windscreen wipers, washers and dipped headlights; drive smoothly and plan your moves in plenty of time.



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