Driving Safety Tips

Motoring in the Winter

  • Listen to weather forecasts and don't make any unnecessary trips if the forecast is particularly bad
  • Make sure your windows are clear of ice and snow before you start your journey
  • Add anti-freeze to the radiator and washer fluid to the windscreen washer bottles
  • Check your tyre tread depth and pressure
  • Check your lights are working properly and are clean
  • Make sure your battery is fully charged
  • Keep sunglasses in the car for the winter sun
  • Keep some warm clothes and a torch in the car
  • Use dipped headlights in hail, snow and rain
  • Drive slower to take account of the weather conditions
  • Give yourself more time to brake as brakes don't work as well in icy conditions - it can take ten times longer to stop in icy conditions than on a dry road
  • Leave plenty of distance between you and the vehicle in front
  • Use the highest gear possible to avoid wheel spin
  • When braking on ice and snow get into a low gear earlier than normal, allow your speed to fall and press gently on the brake
  • If you do end up in a skid, ease off the accelerator but don't brake suddenly
  • If visibility is reduced by fog use your fog lights - but remember to switch them off when visibility improves
  • If the conditions are very bad - don't drive

GENERAL DRIVING TIPS

  • Driving when you are tired can be as dangerous as drink driving. If you are going on a long journey you should plan to have a 10 to15 minute break every 2 hours. If you ever feel tired during a journey pull over at a service station in a rest zone and have a break and something to eat
  • Get into the habit of not starting a car unless your seatbelt is on. It is dangerous to believe that wearing a seatbelt is a hassle
  • Do not eat or drink while driving. It can cause you to lose your concentration and reduce your reaction time. A study showed that while drivers tended to slow down while consuming food, they were twice as likely to be in an accident. Stop to eat and drink, and you can use the time to freshen up
  • Many accidents that occur on motorways are caused by drivers clogging up the middle lane. Stay to the left and only use the middle lanes for overtaking purposes
  • Never Drink and Drive - this should be a given, you should under no circumstances ever drink and drive. Driving after drinking reduces your reaction time and will make you a threat to yourself and to others.The legal limit in the UK is 80 milligrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood. Over 3000 people are killed or seriously injured every year due to drink driving collisions
  • It is now illegal to use your phone if you hold the phone at any point during its use. In any event talking on a mobile phone can distract you from the task of driving. Although hands-free kits are legal if you do not have to touch the phone, we still recommend that you pull over to a safe location whenever you need to make or receive a call

MAINTAINING YOUR VEHICLE

  • Keeping your vehicle in decent condition doesn't need you to be a qualified mechanic. It just means getting your vehicle serviced regularly (it tells you how often in the vehicle handbook) and making sure it passes its annual MOT. It also means carrying out regular, easy checks yourself to make sure your vehicle's in good condition
  • Every week check:
    • Tyre tread depth? Less than 3mm is dangerous in wet or icy weather
    • Tyre pressure? Use a pressure guage when tyres are cold (the right pressure is in your vehicle hand book)
    • Oil and water levels are ok
    • Lights are clean and bulbs aren't blown
    • Wiper blades aren't split or worn
  • Before every journey check: - Tyres don't have worn patches, cracks or bulges? If they do, consult your garage - Brakes are working, by applying them gently while driving very slowly
  • If you think there's a problem with your vehicle, or you're not sure how to do the above checks, talk to your local garage. Don't even think about messing about with your braking systems or engine if you're not a trained mechanic