Winter weather can be extremely unpredictable. Ice, snow, heavy rain and fog significantly increase the risks on the roads. Stopping distances can double in the wet and increase enormously in ice and snow. If you can’t see clearly then you can’t react to hazards. Driving in bad weather can be lethal.
Here are the most important tips to stay safe in hazardous weather conditions:
- Get a grip
Remember your only contact with the road surface is your tyres so it’s vital that they are up to the task in icy and snowy conditions. Check tyres, including spare wheel, and replace them if the tread depth falls below 3mm. Check that tyres are inflated to the correct tyre pressure. Lack of grip can occur even on treated roads so drive slowly in the highest gear possible, manoeuvre gently and avoid harsh braking.
- Make sure you can see
Clear your windows and mirrors before you set out, carry a screen scraper and de-icer.
- Check & use your lights
Use your dipped headlights so that others will see you. Make sure your headlights and taillights are all in working order and make sure lights are clear of snow.
- Gently does it
Manoeuvre gently, slow down and leave extra distance between you and the vehicle in front. Too much steering is bad and avoid harsh breaking and acceleration. Falling snow, fog, rain, or hail will reduce visibility dramatically.
- Watch out for “black ice.”
If the road looks polished or glossy it could be, “black ice” one of winter’s worst hazards: Black Ice is difficult to see! It is nearly transparent ice that often looks like a harmless puddle or is overlooked entirely.
- How does your vehicle help?
Check in your owner’s manual and find out if your vehicle has any safety assist technology like Electronic Stability Control (ESC) or Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) and know how they assist your driving in severe weather conditions.
- Get informed
Listen to local weather and traffic reports before heading out on your journey – if in doubt stay at home.
- Be Prepared
If you really must travel in bad weather, make sure your car is stocked with the following items; high visibility vest, spare fuel, appropriate footwear to leave in your car, a hazard warning triangle, tow rope, a shovel, de-icing equipment, first aid kit, a torch and a car blanket, additional clothing, food and water.
As an employer, it is one of your duties to ensure your staff can get to and from their place of work safely. Safety Media’s 40-minute Winter Weather Interactive e-Learning course will help prepare your employees for their journey during the cold winter months. To set up a trial of the course please call us on +44 (0)1745 535000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Winter Weather Demo”.