How To Stay Safe On The Roads In Winter


The Law Of… Driving In Bad Weather

Snow and ice. The bane of drivers the length and breadth of the UK. When the ground turns white and the tarmac treacherous how can you stay safe on the roads?

driving in snow

Road Traffic Accident claims Partner, Susan Vanden, looks at the dangers of winter driving.

What Should I Do In Bad Weather?

For some, the winter months can drag on with dark mornings and nights with cold, wind and rain. The added threat of snow then creates slippery conditions that can turn a road into a skating rink. So what should drivers do to avoid accidents when the weather takes a turn for the worse?

Stay At Home

If possible, you should avoid driving if conditions are treacherous, such as in heavy snow, fog, wind or on icy roads. Obviously, this isn't always an option, as you may have to be somewhere – work, for instance – or you may already be out in it.

Only journeys that are absolutely necessary should be attempted and even then, it is advisable to use public transport if it's an option.

Do Not Drive As You Normally Would

Whether confronted by heavy rain, thick fog or a blanket of snow, common sense plays a major role in remaining safe. Driving too fast and braking too sharply is simply a recipe for disaster.

Bad weather impacts driving conditions, such as:

  • Reducing visibility
  • Affecting braking distance
  • Reducing overall control of the vehicle.

You should take extra care and drive with added caution when confronted by the worst that the winter can throw at you. This means:

  • Driving slowly and remaining aware of other motorists, cyclists and pedestrians at all times
  • Maintaining a safe distance from the vehicle in front
  • Using your lights as and when necessary
  • Never assuming a road has been gritted.

Stuck In The Snow

If you are caught out by heavy snow and icy roads while driving, there is the risk of getting stuck. During the winter months, it is advisable to travel with appropriate items that can be useful in such circumstances.

These could include:

  • A blanket – To keep warm if you become stranded
  • A torch – To provide light if you have to abandon your vehicle due to the weather
  • A section of old carpet or similar – To provide traction and possibly get you moving again
  • A shovel – To dig your stuck vehicle out if possible
  • Food and drink – For consumption if stranded.

Keeping Safe On The Road

Driving with care and not taking unnecessary journeys or risks is imperative to remaining safe on the road during the winter months.

Susan comments:

"Bad weather, such as a snow and heavy rain, can cause real problems for drivers. Maintaining safe distances and being aware of other road users and pedestrians at all times is of absolute importance."

"Of course, the safest choice is to either stay in or, if possible, find an alternative means of making your journey, such as using public transport. As that is not always an option, then adjusting your driving to suit the conditions can mean the difference between a bump on an icy road and reaching your destination safely."

If you have been in a road accident that wasn't your fault, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact Simpson Millar today.

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