Whilst some drivers do prepare properly and take it easy when the roads are iced up, others sadly don’t and put themselves and others at risk. Perhaps they aren’t so used to heading out on the roads at this time of year, or live in an area of the country that rarely sees ice or snow. Still, winter driving can be hazardous so everyone should be aware of what to do – and what not to do.
While it might look like a winter wonderland where you live, icy conditions can make road traffic accidents more likely, so stay safe by avoiding these mistakes that some drivers make:
- Poor preparation
Ever set off on a winter’s morning to see one of your neighbours trying to de-ice their car with a credit card? Not only will this take forever and a day, it also risks cracking their windscreen. The same can be said for using hot water – which can also quickly freeze as it spills onto the frozen ground.
The AA’s advice on how to de-ice your car can help ensure you set off safely. For other advice on making sure your car is fully prepared – from checking fluid levels to working lights – see our previous blog: Car Drivers – Are You Ready for Winter?
- Driving with snow on car
A common mistake often spotted at this time of year is cars setting off with a heap of snow on top.
Windscreens may well be clear but snow falling from the roof of a car can quickly obscure a driver’s view. See our earlier blog for what the law says on this matter.
- Forgetting the risk of black ice
It’s often the ice that can’t be seen that catches drivers out, who often forget that the ground freezes earlier than the air does.
Water on the road surface can freeze when the outside air temperature is four degrees above freezing, forming black ice which is potentially deadly to drivers is it’s very hard to spot. The RAC provide advice on driving in ice, including the fact that you should drive only when absolutely necessary.
- Not adapting one’s driving style
Preparing your car, correctly de-icing it and being aware of black ice when you set off are all well and good, but drivers are often spotted in winter driving in the same manner as they would do any other time of year.
Everyone should adapt their driving style on icy roads, which can have a massive impact on stopping distances. It can take up to ten times as long to stop in ice, so slow down and keep your distance from the car in front.
- Tailgating in fog
It’s worth mentioning this common winter driving mistake. Just prior to the recent icy spell, the country witnessed very damp conditions, together with thick fog in some places.
Although it’s very hard to see in fog, tailgating another driver provides a false sense of security. You might be able to see their lights but if you drive too close to them you risk a collision if they need to slow down or stop quickly.
Avoid these mistakes and stay safe this winter.
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Slater and Gordon Lawyers are experts in helping people claim compensation for injuries sustained in car accidents through no fault of their own.
For a free consultation with a road traffic accident lawyer, call us 24/7 on 0800 916 9046 or contact us online.