Written by: Griffiths & Armour on: 30 Nov 2023

Winter Driving - Take Care! | Griffiths & Armour

Winter Driving – Take Care!

Winter is most definitely upon us with temperatures now dropping below freezing, and with sleet and snow forecast over the coming months. As such, those of you who will be driving, be it for business or for pleasure, need to be prepared and to feel as safe as possible when on the road.

Plan and prepare for winter driving

Driving in snow and icy conditions is extremely hazardous and should be avoided where possible. If journeys must be undertaken, it is important to plan and prepare.

This should include:

  • Servicing the vehicle and make certain the battery is in good condition.
  • Ensure you have enough fuel for your journey, taking possible delays into account.
  • Clean and clear your windscreen, side windows, rear window and external mirrors. The Highway Code states that it is illegal to drive with poor visibility.
  • Clear your roof and bonnet of snow and ensure your windscreen wipers are working.
  • Ensure your screen wash reservoir is full, the nozzles are clear and anti-freeze has been added.
  • Make sure your de-mister is working.
  • Check your lights are working and clear of snow. You should consider carrying a spade, de-icer and scraper, warm clothing, a mobile phone, a warm drink and emergency food.

How to stay safe when driving in winter

When driving you need to adapt to the weather and road surface conditions by:

  • Exercising extreme caution, as stopping distances can be as much as ten times the normal distance.
  • Increasing the gap between yourself and the vehicle in front.
  • Driving at low speed in as high a gear as possible.
  • Accelerating and braking very gently.
  • Switching on your headlights when visibility is poor.
  • Being aware of the potential for black ice to have formed on the road, which may not be apparent. You may be travelling on black ice when your steering becomes lighter, which can be counteracted by easing off the accelerator and avoiding sharp manoeuvres.

Skidding is a complex subject but that said, as a general rule you should control skidding by easing off the foot pedals and trying to steer in the direction of the skid.

Stay safe and stay calm whilst driving this winter!

Further guidance on motor fleet risk management is available via RMworks, the online risk management portal available to all clients of Griffiths & Armour.

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Cath Swindells | Griffiths & Armour
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