How to avoid an accident in winter driving conditionsNovember 26th, 2015
Winter weather can present some perilous driving conditions on our roads, and with winter fast approaching, we all need to ensure that we are equipped for any conditions the weather throws at us. Wind, rain, snow and ice can all pose a real problem for drivers and it’s important that we know what to do when these conditions hit.
First and foremost, you should ensure your car is ready for winter. Tyres should be in good condition with the correct tread depth and pressure. You should also ensure all lights are working, as well as windscreen wipers and washers. Top up your oil and water and make sure they’re at the correct level and test brakes to ensure they are working properly.
But knowing how to react in different weather situations can also greatly reduce your risk of being involved in an accident and sustaining serious injury. Here are some things you can do in different weather conditions to increase your safety.
Driving in snow and ice
- Slow down. There is a high risk of skidding and stopping distances are greatly increased by snow and ice.
- The speed limit is for ideal driving conditions, and it is often unsafe to drive at the speed limit when conditions are bad.
- Braking on a bend in ice or snow can cause your car to spin. Ensure you brake in plenty of time for bends and when turning.
- Use your brakes gently. Get into a lower gear than normal and allow your speed to drop.
- Leave plenty of room between you and the car in front – stopping distances can be ten times more than in good conditions.
- You should make sure windows, wheel arches, lights and number plates are free from snow before driving and on long journeys stop to check they are still clear.
- Use dipped headlights as visibility will be reduced when driving in snow.
Driving in rain
- Rain reduces visibility and vastly increases stopping distances. Leave twice the normal stopping distance between you and the car in front.
- Ensure you have fully working windscreen wipers and washers and use dipped headlights in poor visibility.
- Beware of aquaplaning. This is caused by driving too fast on surface water. The tyres of your car lose contact with the road, causing your car to float on the water.
- Aquaplaning can be avoided by slowing down and ensuring your tyres are the correct pressure and tread depth.
- On flooded roads you should:
- Drive further away from the kerb where the deepest water is likely.
- Do not drive through if you are unsure of the depth of the water – find an alternative route.
- Drive slowly through the water and test your brakes properly once through the flood.
Driving in fog
- Fog is one of the worst weather conditions for drivers. You should avoid driving unless necessary.
- Accidents often involve multiple vehicles in fog, especially when cars are driving too close.
- Ensure all of your lights are working correctly and use fog lamps when visibility is greatly reduced – try not to use them too soon to avoid dazzling other drivers.
- Turn down music and open a window so that you can hear any approaching traffic at a junction or traffic in front of you.
- Beware of fog patches – do not be fooled if visibility improves and speed up, visibility could be dramatically reduced again very quickly.
- If you break down you should try and get the car off the road. If you are unable to move it you should always leave your hazard lights on to warn other drivers, get out of the car and wait well away from the vehicle until recovery arrives to help.
Driving in strong winds
- Strong winds can affect the control you have on your car and cause it to drift across lanes.
- Hold on tight to the steering wheel to improve your control.
- Avoid bridges and exposed areas of road, especially high up.
- Try to avoid driving high sided vehicles.
Driving with low sunshine
- Winter sun can be low in the sky and easily dazzle drivers. Also, the sun can create a glare on wet roads after rain.
- Reduce your speed so you can react quickly to any situation.
- Keep windscreens clean, both inside and out, ensuring they are free from grease and grime.
- Use sunglasses only when the sun is out. Remove them when the sun goes in and do not wear them in dull weather or at night.
Following these simple steps could reduce your risk of being involved in a serious road accident.
If you have been unlucky enough to be involved in a road traffic accident that wasn’t your fault and you sustained serious injury, CFG Law are here to help you.
We are specialist serious injury solicitors, with expertise in brain and head injuries, as well as spinal and serious orthopaedic injuries. Our specialist solicitors are here to help you, not only to fight for the compensation you deserve, but to help with your recovery and getting your life back on track. We put our clients’ needs at the heart of everything we do and can arrange bespoke treatment to ensure you make the best recovery possible.
To speak to someone today about how we could help you, call us 24 hours a day on 0800 612 8196. Our compassionate solicitors are here for you and all enquiries are completely free with no obligation. We are also members of the RoadPeace Legal Panel, showing our expertise in helping people who have been bereaved or serious injured in a road collision.