With winter now in full swing, the roads are becoming more dangerous than usual. Ice buildup can cause braking distances to grow longer and make it harder to control the car when turning through corners. Snow can compact and form ice underneath, reducing traction and causing drivers to skid.
So how can you keep your family safe this winter while out on the road? Let’s take a look at what the experts suggest.
Pro Safety Tip #1: Don’t Drink And Drive
The primary cause of car accidents is people driving under the influence of alcohol – something that is especially common during the winter, thanks to the festive season. Drivers who are under the influence cannot react as quickly to oncoming hazards and may not brake at all. Driving while drunk is also a serious crime and can carry custodial sentences for people who get involved in accidents, so taking the risk is not worth it. You could lose your license and a lot more.
Pro Safety Tip #2: Drive Slowly
With more ice and snow on the roads, it’s a good idea to slow down considerably. Slowing down will help give you more time to brake, even if the road surface is slippery.
Go particularly slowly on narrow, icy country roads, as these are the least likely to have been treated with grit. Temperatures also fall further in the countryside than they do in the city, increasing the chances of a skid.
Pro Safety Tip #3: Leave The Dog At Home
Although it’s often nice to take the dog out in the car, having Fido in the passenger seat is actually a significant distraction for both you and other drivers. Many major driving organizations recommend that people do not drive with dogs in the car in dangerous conditions to prevent a distraction from leading to a crash.
Pro Safety Tip #4: Drive Defensively
Driving defensively is one of the most effective things that you can do to prevent an accident. Driving defensively means the following:
- Not tailgating. Tailgating reduces the time that you have to react to changes in the speed of the car in front of you. It can also put the other driver off. Try to stay at least two seconds behind the vehicle in front.
- Not overtaking on a single carriageway. Overtaking on single carriageways is dangerous, and it rarely helps you get to where you want to be any faster. It’s particularly dangerous in winter when visibility can be limited.
- Anticipating the actions of other drivers. Instead of just assuming that you have the right of way and plowing straight through, try to predict the behavior of other drivers. They may not be paying attention.
Pro Safety Tip #5: Weather-Proof Your Vehicle
Thanks to grit on the road and freezing temperatures, winter can be a difficult time for vehicles. During the winter months, check that your lights work correctly, including your fog lights, that your windscreen wipers can remove all the debris from your windscreen, and that you have a winter break down kit.