Winter driving tips for keeping safe on the road
With dark mornings and nights and wintery weather conditions, fleet managers and company vehicle drivers need to keep in mind the ‘dos and don’ts’ of winter driving.
So, with this is mind, we have created the following winter driving tips as a reminder of the added perils on our roads at this time of year. We’ve also created a PDF guide which you can download, keep and share – click here for your copy.
We’ve noticed an increase in the use of the latest technology in favour of driving long distances for face-to-face business meetings at this time of year.
And arguably the safest and most environmentally sustainable approach to winter driving is planning your workload to include alternatives such as conference calls, video conferencing, rail travel or better journey scheduling wherever possible.
When driving is essential
However, when you do have to travel by road, please bear in mind the following 10 good practice driving tips:
This time of year also throws up road conditions that you may not face at other times, and they may require rather different driving techniques. There are a number of different road conditions you may encounter:
When roads are icy or slushy
Icy roads throw up a number of problems, so please note:
- It can take ten times longer to stop in icy conditions than on a dry road. Drive slowly, allowing extra room to slow down and stop.
- Use the highest gear possible to avoid wheel spin.
- Manoeuvre gently, avoiding harsh braking and acceleration.
- To brake on ice or snow without locking your wheels, get into a low gear earlier than normal, allow your speed to fall and use the brake pedal gently.
- If you start to skid, ease off the accelerator but do not brake suddenly.
Watch out for fog
At this time of year, fog can be a hazard in any region of the country. Remember:
- Fog drifts rapidly and is often patchy.
- In foggy conditions, drive very slowly using dipped headlights.
- Use fog-lights if visibility is seriously reduced, but remember to switch them off when visibility improves.
- Don’t hang on to the tail-lights of the vehicle in front. This gives you a false sense of security and means you may be driving too close.
- Don’t speed up suddenly, even if it seems to be clearing. You can suddenly find yourself back in thick fog.
The perils of wet weather driving
In wet weather, stopping distances will be at least double those required for stopping on dry roads. In wet weather:
- You should keep well back from the vehicle in front. This will increase your ability to see and plan ahead.
- If steering becomes unresponsive, it probably means the water is preventing the tyres from gripping the road. Ease off the accelerator and slow down gradually.
- The rain and spray from vehicles may make it difficult to see and be seen.
Flooded roads are an increasing problem
Flooding seems to be more prevalent in recent years and requires good driving practice:
- Don’t attempt to cross if the water appears too deep.
- Drive slowly in first gear but keep the engine speed high by slipping the clutch – this will stop you from stalling.
- Avoid the deepest water, usually near the kerb.
- Remember – test your brakes when you are through the flood before you drive at normal speed.
If you get stranded in snow
Here are some essentials you should bear in mind:
- Don’t leave the vehicle.
- Let help come to you.
- Keep as warm as possible, including running the engine for warmth.
Remember driving on our roads during winter requires common sense and a greater awareness of conditions, and you should always be prepared for every eventuality.
If you would like any further advice on winter driving, then please contact us.