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Winter Has Finally Arrived!

Winter Has Finally Arrived!

The season of dread has arrived.  British winters are generally unpredictable. Bad weather usually strikes suddenly so we need to be prepared.

Driving in the winter is very different than in other times of the year. Adverse weather and longer periods of darkness makes driving more hazardous.

Many drivers fail to appreciate that the performance of tyres is affected when temperatures fall below 7 degrees centigrade – a typical winter day in the UK.  The braking distance from 60 mph on wet roads in the winter is typically 70 metres, about twice the normal braking distance.  Increasingly drivers are electing to have a set of winter wheels and tyres with a different rubber compound specifically designed for cold weather driving.  This is common practice in many Scandinavian countries and increasingly so in parts of the UK.

Before winter starts it’s a good idea to have your vehicle serviced, and have the anti-freeze tested. If you can’t have it serviced, then do your own checks. In particular, check:

  • Lights are working
  • Wiper blades are in good condition and the washer bottle filled with screen wash suitable for sub-zero temperatures
  • Tyres are in good condition, maintained at the correct pressure and with adequate tread depth
  • Brakes are working properly
  • Fluids are kept topped up, especially windscreen wash and engine oil

In the car, pack up the boot with a few items to make you safer in the event of you getting stuck.  For example a warm jacket, a high vis vest, jump leads, a torch and some chocolate bars to provide nourishment. And if driving in snow a small shovel.

Having talked about poor winter weather driving conditions, the winter sun can also cause difficulties.  In winter, the angle of the sun in the sky will frequently be too low for your visor to help. If blinded by glare:

  • Reduce your speed
  • Reduce the effect of glare by keeping both the inside and outside of your windscreen clean and grease free

The above are just a few tips to help you stay safe during the winter. For more tips and guidance ROSPA has produced a film illustrating the most important things to check and how to do so.

 

Drive safely,