It’s the second week of the New Year and the only person who seems to have not got the message that winter is supposed to be over is Jack Frost. This week’s tips give advice on how to deal with winter driving and riding whilst travelling during these dark January days, from IAM RoadSmart’s head of driving and riding standards Richard Gladman.
- Dress correctly. Seems pretty obvious but sometimes you don’t realise that the comfortable motorcycle or driving attire isn’t always winter friendly. Functional most certainly surpasses fashionable this season
- Get your car or motorcycle a check-up. A poorly maintained vehicle or motorcycle is highly likely to let you down in times of cold and will not perform well. If you are aware a service is due, have it done or be prepared to spend a damp and chilly few hours waiting for help
- Check the weather forecast. I’m sure you are aware British weather changes massively and riding a motorcycle on ice or in strong winds is best avoided. In winter conditions like these it’s better to know your route and plan it before you set off. Always let someone know your plans if you are setting out on a longer journey
- Pack an emergency kit. Warm clothes, winter footwear, some snacks and a fully charged mobile phone are a must but a tow rope and jump leads could allow you to help or be helped by other drivers
- Be alert and do not drive when you are tired or feeling ’under the weather’. It may sound very common but with these current weather conditions emerging from building lines or from alongside high-sided vehicles, a sudden gust can cause a change of direction in the traffic around you. Staying alert and planning for the worst can help you deal with the unexpected
- Driving with gust is a no no – keep the speed down to minimise the effect of high winds on your vehicle The faster you drive or ride, the more difficult it becomes to maintain control in cross winds or if you hit ice or standing water. Stay within the law, including the laws of physics. A few extra minutes on your journey time is a small price to pay for safety
Richard said: “The most predictable thing about the British weather is its unpredictability! Good preparation for your journey will help keep it stress-free. Slowing down and looking well ahead will help you negotiate your way safely through the short winter days.”