Travelling by road in winter weather

One of the main things you have to deal with once the temperature drops is trying to travel safely by road. Below are some tips and advice if you intend travelling by road in wintry conditions.

Motorist checklist

Additives

Keep windscreen washer and radiator fluid levels full and make sure the water contains anti-freeze.

Battery

Keep your battery fully charged.

Lights

Make sure all lights are clean and working properly and always use your headlights when it's snowing.

Tyres

Your tyres (including the spare) should have plenty of tread and be inflated to the right pressure.

Wipers

Keep wiper blades in good condition.

Windows

Remove all snow and ice from your windows, doors, lights, mirrors, roof and bonnet before setting out.

Things to carry in your vehicle

It is advisable to always carry an emergency 'kit' in your vehicle. This should include:

  • a first aid kit
  • battery jump leads
  • a map
  • a torch and spare batteries
  • a blanket
  • a reflective warning sign
  • food and drink that will last

In adverse weather you should also take:

  • warm winter clothing (including boots) and a blanket
  • ice scraper and de-icer
  • a shovel for snow
  • food and a warm drink (in a flask)

Play your part

  • prepare your car before the winter sets in
  • limit your travel to essential trips only
  • listen to your local radio station and weather forecasts for traffic news
  • plan your route to avoid steep mountainous or lightly travelled roads
  • leave early and expect any trip to take at least twice as long as normal
  • make sure you bring a mobile phone if at all possible
  • slow down and keep a safe distance behind the driver in front
  • avoid quick acceleration or sharp braking
  • do not obstruct winter service vehicles as they treat the roads

If you get into trouble

  • stop somewhere safe and phone for help if you have a mobile phone
  • stay with your vehicle until help arrives
  • wrap up warm and drink plenty of fluids (no alcohol)
  • run engine to keep warm unless snow blocks exhaust
  • if you must leave your vehicle to get help, make sure someone knows where you are going

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