Some advice when driving in severe weather conditions
Only travel if your journey really is essential. If you have to travel you should make sure you allow extra time for your journey and have with you - warm clothes, blanket, food, water, boots, torch, spade and a fully charged mobile phone. You should also let someone know your route and when you are expected to arrive. Before setting out, it is also important to make sure the vehicle to be driven is roadworthy: clear of snow and ice, and the oil and water have been checked. Check whether there is anti-freeze in the car and that you have enough fuel. Motorists need to be aware that:
- Even when roads have been salted it takes time for the salt to become effective.
- Rain can wash salt off roads leaving them prone to icing.
- In severe weather conditions salt will not always prevent roads from icing up.
Tips for winter driving
- Always tune in to 96.4 Eagle Radio to get details of conditions before embarking on your journey
- Ensure that your vehicle has a well charged battery and antifreeze coolant; most breakdowns in winter are caused by these failures.
- After heavy snowfall, you should plan you journey carefully. If road conditions are poor, ensure you have sensible clothing in case of emergency. You are also advised to take a flask of hot drink, a torch, mobile phone and a shovel on long journeys.
- Ask yourself if your journey is really necessary. If it is, try and find alternative routes, allow yourself extra time to get to your destination and make sure that your vehicle is prepared for the journey.
- Always drive according to the prevailing conditions. Use dipped headlights in poor weather, avoid sudden acceleration and braking and keep your speed down to an appropriate level for the conditions.
- Do not assume that the roads are free from frost and ice, even if the road looks clear.
- If you are caught behind a salting vehicle, please keep well back and be patient until the vehicle turns off the road.
- If you have to abandon your vehicle, try to leave it so that snow ploughs can pass. Leave a note so that you can be contacted when the road has been cleared.
Snow and ice are not very nice. A little time can make winter driving easier.
Putting aside ten minutes to plan your journey before you set off could make all the difference. Check your planned route where you can find up-to-date traffic information. You should also check your vehicle is ready for the drive by checking the condition of your tyres as well as making sure your windscreen and lights are clean
Regularly servicing and checking your vehicle is in good running order before setting out, will reduce your chances of breaking down on the road. It's worth making these checks regularly - and particularly before a long journey:
- Check and replace the anti-freeze in the radiator
- Make sure your lights are clean and check the bulbs
- Ensure your windscreen is clean
- Replace the battery if it's not reliable
- Ensure your tyres are correctly inflated and replace them if the tread has reached the legal minimum.
As you pack your gifts, for a long winter journey, you should pack your emergency kit in your car. This simple array of everyday household items could be your salvation if you get caught out by adverse weather conditions on the journey. You only need to pack it once at the beginning of the season leaving you with one less thing to worry about this winter
Your emergency kit should include:
- Ice scraper and de-icer
- Torch and spare batteries
- Warm clothes and a blanket
- First aid kit
- Jump leads
- Mobile phone charger
- Food and a warm drink in a vacuum flask
- A shovel
- Reflective warning sign
- Road atlas
- Sunglasses (the glare off snow can be dazzling)
Don't forget to take any personal medication too.
So whenever you plan to drive this season, make time for winter.
Remember to keep your radio tuned to 96.4 Eagle Radio for all the latest weather and travel news