Being safe on the road is the number-one priority regardless of the weather, but as the winter months start creeping in, it can’t hurt to remind ourselves of the dangers and prepare for the changing conditions. Foggy mornings make it hard to see, rainy weather causes slippery streets, and when the roads get icy, driving becomes even more hazardous.
Data from Privilege Car Insurance highlighted the top five days of the year with the most accidents reported. January lays claim to the most dangerous month on the road, taking three of the top five spots of the year:
- January 16 – 10,075 accidents
- December 5 – 10,013 accidents
- November 30 – 9,800 accidents
- January 18 – 9,638 accidents
- January 13 – 9,388 accidents
Check out some of our tips for winter driving that will hopefully help you prepare for the season ahead.
1. Maximise your visibility
During the winter months the days are shorter, there’s more fog, and rain and snow further reduce visibility. Driving more cautiously is your best bet to avoid accidents, but it’s also paramount to make sure other drivers and pedestrians can also see you coming in time. Our top tips to give yourself plenty of reaction time and also keep your car visible on the roads include the following:
- Check your lights regularly to see if they’re working properly, and replace any bulbs that are faded or burnt
- Don’t forget to turn on your fog lights when it’s necessary, but pay equal attention to turning them off when the weather is clear so you don’t blind other drivers
- Clean your windows regularly, both inside and outside
- Use your car’s heating or air conditioning to demist your windscreen and direct some airflow towards the side windows too
- Inspect your wiper blades frequently to ensure they clean your windscreen properly – don’t forget to top up your washer fluid with a good-quality winter mix and keep a small bottle for backup in the boot
2. Regularly check your tyres
Your tyres should be in good condition all year round, but it’s even more important during the winter months, as they’re the most critical safety elements on your car. Make a habit of checking for tyre damage every time you wash your car, which you should do more often during the wet winter months anyway.
Hazards like low tread depth, splits and bulges are easier to spot when your tyres are clean, and giving your car more attention during winter simply means it won’t be as big a job to get your car clean in spring. A quick wash also goes a long way in preventing rust – road salt is extremely corrosive, affecting your brakes as well as the bodywork.
- Check your tyre pressure regularly and keep them inflated to the level recommended by the car manufacturer
- Inspect your tyres for any damage from things like nails or screws
- Verify the tread depth on your tyres – they must have at least 3mm of tread left to drive safely, though the legal limit is 1.6mm
Tip: You can check tread depth easily by placing a penny between the grooves at various spots on all four tyres. If you can see the top of the Queen’s crown, you should change your tyres soon.
3. Be prepared
The best way to stay safe is to plan ahead. Remember, your car is your work tool, and while it should be prepared for anything the weather throws at it, don’t forget about yourself either:
- Pack multiple layers of clothing so you can adjust to your riders’ preferred temperature setting
- Pack plenty of healthy snacks such as fruits and nuts to ensure you’re alert during the dark conditions
- Regularly check the weather forecast and try to predict any rain, snow or fog that may be on its way
- Plan to take routes that avoid known accident hotspots
Lastly, remember to slow down, and when in doubt, pull over and seek shelter if wild weather arrives. Your safety should be your top priority and there is nothing wrong with travelling just a little bit slower on roads.[visual-link-preview encoded=”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”]
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