Many of us will have noticed a change in the weather in recent weeks so now is the time to dig out those Stark reminders of the hazards this can pose to drivers and the action you can take to be prepared. (I promise “Snow” more subtle references to the unluckiest noble family in Westeros).

Driving in the winter is very different than at other times of the year.  Bad weather and longer nights makes driving more hazardous. This means we need to adapt the way we drive.

A single journey may take us into very different weather, road and traffic conditions so we need to be prepared for each one.

The following tips may help you cope better with whatever the season has to throw at us.

Prepare Your Vehicle

  • Buy a screen wash with anti-freeze properties and, when filling the car wash bottle, follow the dilution instructions for winter/icy conditions.  Keep the screen wash topped up.
  • Clean and de-ice your windscreen, side and rear windows plus lights thoroughly prior to setting out on your journey.
  • Carry a cloth, de-icer and scraper in the car so that you can repeat the cleaning process each time you stop.
  • Make sure the battery is fully charged.
  • Make sure you have sufficient fuel.
  • Check tyres ‘regularly’ including pressure, tread depth and overall condition.
  • Tyre pressure affects steering, grip and braking.  Lowering the pressure in your tyres may provide for additional grip in snowy conditions but remember to re-inflate to the correct pressure when the temperature improves.  Do not lower your tyre pressure unless you know by how much.

Prepare Your Journey

  • Plan your journey carefully so that you don’t have to rush.
  • When driving for long distances on a motorway plan regular breaks to be taken at service stations so that you can repeat the cleaning process.
  • In extreme weather conditions consider whether it may be necessary to re-schedule your appointment.
  • Try to avoid remote roads wherever possible.
  • Listen to local/national weather broadcasts and travel bulletins.

Prepare Yourself

  • Keep sunglasses in the car for eye protection against dazzle by low winter sun.
  • Avoid stopping on the hard shoulder wherever possible.  If necessary leave the motorway at the next exit.
  • Carry a pair of sensible shoes/warm clothing/torch and shovel in the car in case you break down.
  • In wet, icy or snowy conditions reduce your speed.  Stopping distances will be greater.  Keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front.
  • Try to avoid braking suddenly, slow the car down by reducing gear.  If you lose control, steer in the direction of the skid.
  • Make sure you have a fully charged mobile telephone with you on your journey.

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