The perils of winter driving

Published:
11 January 2013
Topic:
News,Motoring

Forecasters are predicting Arctic conditions across the UK for the next four weeks with north and south-east England set to suffer the most. Snow is expected to reach our shores in the next day or so, which means we all need to be proactive and get prepared for what lies ahead.

The level 2 Met Office weather warning comes into force tomorrow morning as average daytime temperatures are set to stay just above freezing over the coming weekend. This level of warning means the Met office is 60-70% sure that a threatening weather system is on its way - and if and when snow hits, this is likely to be upgraded to Level 3, just one below an emergency situation.

F-f-from Russia with love

This latest cold snap is due to cold air blowing in from Russia, and the Met office expects the freezing temperatures to last until early February. Authorities are anticipating travel disruption, with snowploughs and gritting lorries preparing for a hard few weeks. The UK Highways Agency has 27 days' worth of grit ready for the UK roads, with about twice that in reserve.

The Department of Transport revealed in 2011 there were 3,944 people killed or injured in traffic accidents when there was snow or ice on the roads that year. This highlights the danger of what lies ahead and that drivers need to be wary of the dangers inclement weather can bring.

Prepare your vehicle

It's essential you prepare your car for bad weather. Sub-zero temperatures can do nasty things to your vehicle, from freezing your windscreen to rendering normal tyres useless.

There are simple checks you can do yourself to ensure your motor is in the best shape possible to take on the winter weather. The most important check is your tyres; you can easily lose control if they aren't in decent shape. Fitting winter tyres might be worth consideration as these offer much greater grip and break more effectively under snow and ice.

Some insurance companies see these as modifications so you may need to inform your provider if you do make a change. Your policy should tell you whether this is the case. You won't be charged additional premium provided your vehicle remains roadworthy.

For more winter driving tips check out this article.

Adapt your driving

It's not just your car that needs to be ready for the weather. Inevitably you'll be hitting the roads during the next few weeks and so you need to adapt your driving style to the conditions.

If the roads start to ice up there are things you can do to reduce the risk. It's essential to bring down your speed; this can prevent skidding. It's also important drivers not to brake or accelerate too quickly. If you do feel the car going into a skid, drop gears and gently apply the brakes.

Before you set out, always check weather and traffic updates, this will help plan your journey and go some way to keeping you as safe and stress-free as possible.

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About This Author

Ed Towner

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