The Institute of Advanced Motorists is offering some top tips, from checking your tyres and staying in a higher gear, for staying safe while driving on hazardous roads this winter.
* Do a proper winter check of your vehicle, looking at washer fluid, de-icer/scraper and tyres.
* Check the weather in advance – do not ignore police warnings about closed roads.
* Make sure you have an emergency kit so you are prepared in the event of a breakdown. This should include a torch, food for energy, water and a blanket. On longer journeys always let someone know you have set off and tell them your planned route.
* Make sure your mobile is charged so you can make a call in an emergency – but do not use it when driving.
ON THE ROAD
* When driving in snow, get your speed right – not too fast that you risk losing control but not so slow that you risk losing momentum when you need it. Brake, steer and accelerate as smoothly as possible.
* Start gently from stationary, avoiding high revs. If you get yourself into a skid the main thing to remember is to take your foot off the accelerator and steer – never use the brake.
* Double or even triple your normal stopping distance from the vehicle in front.
* Stick to busier roads as they are more likely to have been gritted.
* On motorways, stay in the clearest lane where possible, away from slush and ice. Keep within the clear tyre tracks if you can.
* Stay in a higher gear for better control.
* Make sure your fog lights are on only if necessary – they can dazzle other drivers.
* In falling snow, use dipped headlights to make yourself visible to others, especially pedestrians.
Denna Bowman, Head Office