A Safer Drive to Work in the Winter

A Safer Drive to Work in the Winter

03rd November 2014

In the middle of winter, most of us in the UK will end up going to work and coming home in the dark.  Many outdoor workers will spend quite a chunk of this winter working in dark conditions – people with jobs in the construction industry, agriculture, etc.  Working and driving in the dark require extra care and attention.  Each industry will have its own set of advice for those who work outside in the dark during the winter.  However, most of us will be driving home after dark (and driving to work in the dark for some of us), so here are a few tips to help you through the coming winter months.

DRIVE SMARTER

If possible, plan ahead for your journey and try to avoid driving in bad weather conditions.  However, if you drive to and from work, this is unlikely to be possible and you will need to take extra care when driving during the harsh winter months, especially during heavy rainfall, sleet, snow and icy conditions.  Here are some tips that should help you stay safer driving in the darker winter months:

  • Lower your usual speed and keep it down – be aware of your speed at all times and don’t let it creep back up.
  • If this is your regular journey, you’ll know what to expect on the road ahead but don’t become complacent, stay alert at all times.  If it’s not your regular journey, you will need to anticipate what’s coming up.  Keep an eye open for road signs and when it’s dark scan the tops of hills for oncoming lights.
  • Don’t be tempted to tailgate the car in front – leave plenty of space to be able to stop safely if the need arises.  In a bid to increase road safety, some of the UK’s motorways have had chevron markings added to the road to help drivers judge the distances more accurately.
  • If you need to overtake in the dark, make sure you can see the road ahead clearly enough to complete the overtaking safety.  If you’re not quite sure, leave it until later.
  • Adjust your headlights when vehicles are coming towards you to avoid dazzling them with you high beams.
  • Try to leave a little extra time for your journey in the winter months – you need to slow down in general in wet weather, so racing to complete the journey in time will just put you (and others) at risk.

PREPARE YOUR VEHICLE FOR WINTER

Your vehicle should always be fully serviced and well maintained and this is especially important during the winter months when harsh weather adds risks and makes driving more dangerous.  Before the winter really sets in give your vehicle a complete check and then perform regular checks in future to ensure that all is still well.

WINDSCREEN – Check the screen for scratches and chips and make sure it is clean at all times – this goes for the rear screen and other windows too (including side mirrors).  Check the wiper blades are clean and replace if they show signs of wear and tear.

TYRES – Make sure the tyres are all in good conditions with enough tread and air on a regular basis (don’t forget to check the spare too).

LIGHTS – Make sure that all lights (including interior lights) are in good working order and replace bulbs if necessary.

BRAKES – check that the brakes are in good working order on a regular basis.

FLUIDS – Do a weekly check to ensure that all fluids are kept topped up – oil, water, antifreeze and windscreen wash.