We all dream of white Christmases, but are you prepared to drive in one? As we get into the thick of the coldest season, we face new challenges on the road.
From the sun going down earlier to some of the most difficult weather conditions to travel in, are you and your vehicle fully prepared for the coming cold months?
Here at Just Tyres, we’ve put together our top tips to keep safe on the roads this winter:
Driving on snowy and icy roads
A simple journey you may do every day is a completely different experience if the roads are icy. Braking distances can increase by a whopping ten times on icy roads compared to roads that are dry so, for this reason, be prepared to leave up to ten times the amount of distance usually advised between you and the car in front. When driving on ice, also consider:
Look well ahead for potential hazards, in particular for patches of black ice – and keep your speed down
To reduce the risk of skidding, accelerate, steer, brake and change gears as smoothly as you can. You might also want to consider getting some winter tyres as an extra precaution, but don’t forget studded tyres are illegal in the U.K!
Driving in a higher gear can give you more grip on the roads
Stay safe and alert
Black ice can be particularly hazardous due to the fact it’s almost impossible to see, taking a smooth and transparent form that glosses itself dangerously across our roads. If you’re not sure whether you are driving on black ice, take extra precaution if you notice the road looking wet during particularly low temperatures and on quieter roads. If you do hit black ice, it’s critical to remember two things; don’t panic and avoid braking – take your foot off the accelerator so your speed can drop by itself until you gain control again.
Wet and rain
Here in the U.K, snow and ice aren’t all we see throughout winter; our good friend rain – who likes to stick around for most of the year – can also create dangerous driving conditions. Particularly bad in the winter, rain along with other bad weather conditions are the cause of 22% of road accidents in the U.K. alone.
Before heading out into the wet, check your vehicle for the following:
Are your tyres at the legal tyre tread depth of 1.6mm? It’s not worth risking your safety or the legal consequences as, if caught, you could be facing a £2,500 fine and 3 penalty points per illegal tyre
Are your windscreen wiper blades working properly? If either the front or back blades are not functioning completely, they need to be replaced before heading out in the rain
Winter Breakdown Kit
Driving in the cold months of the year can be particularly unpredictable, so if you find yourself either in your car for hours or broken down, it’s highly advised you have a kit of items prepared, including:
De-icer and ice-scraper – did you know it’s illegal to drive your car if it is not completely clear of ice and snow? These two items will help you get onto the roads sooner. If you’re using your car heating to clear your windshield, don’t leave your engine unoccupied – it’s a lesser known law, but this is illegal
Torch and high visibility jacket – winter means dark mornings and evenings, and as a result lower levels of visibility. Make sure you can see – and can be seen – with these two essential items
Sunglasses – with the low sun in winter, a glare can be left on the road which has a big impact on your ability to see the roads and traffic around you
Driving in winter doesn’t have to be a dangerous experience but, if drivers aren’t prepared or driving safely, the roads can become dangerous. Be prepared, reduce your speed and stay aware of other vehicles around you.