Most areas of Britain woke up to a dusting of frost this morning, and if you didn’t… well winter is just around the corner, and it’s been forecasted to be a cold one. As the bitter and darker mornings dawn upon us, it’s important to make sure you’re travelling with more caution. So, whether you’re driving to work or carrying a load, here’s five top tips on how to make sure you’re travelling safe this winter.
- Leave a little earlier
It is easy to forget that part of your morning routine will need to include defrosting your vehicle, but it can take a good 5-10 minutes to do so. Leaving enough time to do this before you start your journey is vital, as you don’t want to find yourself rushing on the road to make up for the lost time.
- De-ice your car properly
Make sure all windows and mirrors are de-iced properly and fully. It’s an obvious one, but you need to make sure you’re thorough. Visibility may already be impaired due to foggy or condensation from cold car engines, and your peripheral vision is limited even more if you’re driving a truck or lorry. Foggy or icy windows should be cleared so you have maximum awareness of your surroundings and potential hazards.
- Take caution when taking corners
Accelerating and breaking at a faster rate will increase your chance of skidding, which ultimately puts you, any passengers in your vehicle, and drivers around you at a higher risk of a collision. When you drive around a corner – especially if it is early in the morning – there will still most likely be ice or black ice in the gutters of the pavements. Take extra care and approach corners at a sensible speed.
- Assess your route
Before you start your journey, you should check the weather forecast, and pay attention to any weather warnings. Assess the route you are planning to take – does it stick to main roads? Does it have hills or muddy surfaces? Is there likelihood of flooding? Sometimes it is necessary to choose an alternative route to make sure you reach your destination safely. Try to stick to concrete main roads, as they will be gritted with salt, and avoid sloped routes or small bridges in case of flooding conditions, especially if you are carrying heavy loads.
- Keep essentials in your vehicle
You should always keep essentials in your car in case of an emergency – de-icer sprays or tools, a windscreen cloth, salt, high-visible clothing or signs, a torch and a coat. If you are stranded, have a break down or are in extreme weather conditions, storing these essentials in the back of your car or truck will prove to be helpful and appreciated, particularly in the case of a long-haul journey.
Whether it’s a five minute or a five-hour journey, make sure you stay safe on the road this winter.
Rachel Jefferies, Editor, Freight Media