Winter is coming - 10 top tips for road safety in the winter

Winter is officially upon us, which also brings potential dangers for road users.  It is the month of falling temperatures and earlier darker evenings.

When the snows fall and white winds blow, this brings with it more hazardous conditions.  Drivers need to adapt the way they drive in winter months. 

A key part of road safety is the car itself, MOTs this year stopped as we all did for Covid-19 but with everyone taking to the roads again the risk remains. One in three cars fail their MOT and with winter upon is it is important to check yours is up to date.

A survey undertaken of 1,000 drivers revealed that 55% of respondents did not know how best to use their brakes in wet, icy or snowy weather, 72% did not know the most effective gear to use in the snow and 36% were unaware about what to do if their car were to skid. 

Here is a list of the 10 top tips for winter safety for road users and pedestrians:

  1. Give more warning than usual to other drivers when turning, braking and pulling out. 
  2. If you skid, take your feet off the pedals and steer the vehicle to safety. 
  3. Avoid using first gear if possible in slippery conditions.  Try and set off using a higher gear for more control. 
  4. In ice or snow, triple the normal braking distance, using a low gear earlier than normal and gently applying the brakes. 
  5. General car maintenance.  This includes tyre pressure, anti freeze and making sure you have a well charged battery.
  6. Carry a jump starter kit.  Motor oil thickens in colder temperature making it harder to start the engine.    
  7. Make sure the temperature of your car is at a reasonable level before setting off so as to avoid mist build up on the windscreen/mirrors. 
  8. For pedestrians / cyclists.  Make sure you are clearly visible in all weather conditions and when it gets dark.  Wear high visibility clothing and a helmet.  Also make sure the lights on your bike are working. 
  9. Try not to have any other distractions whilst walking for example, listening to music.  Having road awareness and paying attention is key. 
  10. If the weather is too bad to travel by car / bike or foot, try and stay indoors. 

The AA recommends that tyre tread depth and pressure of tyres are regularly checked in all seasons, but especially in the winter because of their influence on braking and control. 

The legal minimum tread depth limit is 1.6mm, but the AA recommends 3mm for winter driving.  There is also the possibility of purchasing winter tyres which make a marked improvement. 

There are useful apps such as Google satnav and Google Maps, which reduce your risk of skidding. 

Preparation and adaptation is important, always ask yourself if the journey is necessary.  A few small changes can go a long way towards keeping safe.    

If you have been involved in an accident and would like to discuss it further then please click here to contact a member of the Personal Injury and Medical Negligence Department or arrange your free initial consultation today.