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Tips for handling winter driving

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Tips for handling winter driving

When cold weather hits the UK, motorists need to be able to rely on their winter driving skills, and it is of particular importance that drivers are fully aware of tips with a proven history of keeping people safe when they take their cars out on the roads.

Motorists need to be able to adapt their driving style to the weather if they find themselves driving in conditions such as ice, snow or freezing temperatures. Drivers can also make sure that their vehicles are prepared for the onset of winter by checking their battery charge and anti-freeze levels. The transport system in the UK can be especially vulnerable to winter weather, so there’s plenty for drivers to consider which can make life much easier on the roads this season.

What you should do
In winter, it becomes more important to choose the roads that you intend to drive on in advance and avoid those areas that are likely to be most affected by inclement weather. Make use of online maps before you set off in order to work out the worst areas for traffic and avoid places where accidents have taken place. If there is an alternative method of getting to your destination other than driving, then you should also consider using it, or even staying at home if the journey isn’t completely necessary. If you have to drive, make sure that you keep focused on the road at all times. Look ahead as far as you can so that you have plenty of opportunities to prepare your steering and speed in advance and will not have to make potentially dangerous movements at the last moment. The rule of “two seconds to the vehicle in front” needs to be doubled in wet weather, with additional separation distance being particularly important in poor weather conditions that lead to slippery roads. In these circumstances, tailgating becomes incredibly dangerous. Heavy rain or fog can also have a big impact on visibility, and you should drive correspondingly slower depending on what you can and cannot see.

What you should not do
You should not just be coasting when driving in winter. Always keep your feet on the pedals. It is not advised to brake and then remove your feet from the pedals, but you will be safe as long as inputs remain smooth. It is vitally important to pay attention to all road signs and markings, which often provide you with crucial information that will make your drive a lot safer. These signs can inform you of the nature of the road surface, the steepness of the road, the speed limit and upcoming distractions, all of which should be paid attention to. You should also never ignore faults such as cracked windscreens, dashboard fault lights and insufficiently charged batteries. Accidents or breakdowns can still happen in a vehicle that is not functioning at its optimum regardless of the quality of your driving.

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