Many people would say the best advice to take if you need to drive on icy roads is not to do it at all. It only takes one slip of the tyres – or a slip in judgement – to result in an accident.
But now the winter is upon us again – with some potentially treacherous weather forecast in the coming weeks – there’s no doubt some of us will have the need to get out in our cars. Fortunately there are ways to minimise the odds of having an accident at this time.
We’ve put together some handy tips to try and reduce the chances of suffering a personal injury, such as whiplash, during a winter accident. How many do you already follow?
This should go without saying, but it’s surprising how many people drive as if it is the middle of summer. Take your time and remember you will need lots more time to stop when you need to, so don’t follow anything too closely.
If another vehicle gets between you and the car in front, make sure you drop back to increase the gap.
Make sure all your windows are clear from ice and snow
Many people only clear their windscreens, but you need to clear all your windows before setting off. It is even more important to be able to see all around you when you are driving on ice.
Turn your engine on, turn the air on to clear the inside of the car if required and leave it running while you clear the windows outside.
Assume all surfaces are covered in ice even if you can’t see it
Black ice can be one of the most hazardous forms of ice you’ll encounter. If ice has been forecast, it won’t necessarily be ice you can see.
In addition, areas that are more exposed to the elements will freeze over more quickly. Bridges are a classic example of this.
Don’t assume roads have been gritted
It’s not always easy to tell if a particular road has been gritted yet or not. While it might be possible to file a no win no fee claim for having an accident as a result of a road not being gritted, you don’t want the accident in the first place.
Always be careful and even if you hit a stretch of road that has been gritted, don’t assume it will be gritted the whole way down. You never know when the gritting lorry will run out of grit, and you don’t want to find out the hard way.
Being prepared for anything is the best course of action when it comes to driving on icy roads. The best course of action is not to drive at all if you can help it, but this isn’t always practical. So if you do have to drive make sure you take your time and be even more attentive than usual. Oh, and don’t assume everyone else will be sensible and follow these rules either!
More information about driving safely is available on the website of road safety charity Brake.