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Protect yourself on the roads this winter

Published: 25th November 2010 16:37
As winter weather takes hold in Warwickshire drivers are being warned to take steps to protect themselves from harm on the roads.

Reduced visibility and slippery road surfaces make winter driving hazardous, but there are steps you can take to reduce the risks.

These include ensuring good visibility, allowing extra time for journeys, adjusting your speed to match road conditions and making sure that your vehicle is in good condition.

You should also be prepared for when things go wrong by keeping some essential supplies in the car to keep you safe and comfortable.

Phil Moore, road safety officer for Warwickshire Police said:

"Winter road conditions make driving hazardous, but there are things that can be done to keep drivers and other road users safe. It is all about good preparation, good vehicle maintenance, the right knowledge and the right attitude.

"Make sure that tyres have sufficient tread so that they grip the road; keep the cold out of your vehicle by checking and replacing the anti-freeze in the radiator; make sure that the battery is fully charged; keep windows and lights clean and make sure that wiper blades are in good working condition and washer bottles are topped up.

"Keep an emergency kit in the car, including an ice scraper and de-icer, torch, warm clothes and a blanket, boots, battery jump leads, a shovel in case of snow, food and a flask of warm drink and a map or sat nav in case of diversions. Make sure your mobile phone is fully charged and has credit available.

"In winter it is important to adjust the way you drive.

"When roads are slippery it will take up to 10 times longer to stop, so adjust your speed and give yourself more time.

"If your vehicle starts to skid don't brake! Depress the clutch, turn the steering wheel into the direction of the skid then when the vehicle straightens, steer along the road.

"If driving in fog use dipped headlights so other drivers can see you and if there is less than 100m visibility switch your fog lights on. But - switch them off once conditions have improved so they don't dazzle drivers behind you!

"If it has been snowing clear the snow from the roof of your vehicle before you drive off as it can slip down over the windscreen and obscure your view.

"If your vehicle loses its grip, or "aquaplanes", on surface water take your foot off the accelerator to slow down. Don't brake or steer suddenly because you have no control of the steering or brakes.

"If you can avoid it, it is best not to drive through lying surface water as you might flood your engine. But if you do have to drive through water use first gear, move forward immediately to avoid stalling the engine. Keep your revs high and depress your clutch when you need to.

"Test your brakes after passing through the water. If they work then you can drive on at your usual speed providing it's safe to do so.

"Much of this is common sense, something many drivers seem to lose when they want to get somewhere in a hurry.

"Warwickshire Police is committed to protecting all road users from harm and we need to encourage them to protect themselves."

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