When the clocks go back, many people will be travelling home in the dark for the first time in many months. Before starting the engine, it is a good idea to sit in your car for a few moments to allow your eyes to become accustomed to the dark. Remember you’re not the only one in this position, pedestrians may not be wearing proper reflective clothing, so pay extra attention if you’re driving near schools or in rural areas.
The sun sits lower in the sky in wintertime, and this can result in glare, so don’t put away your sunglasses yet! Remember also that if the sun is behind you, it’s in the eyes of those drivers coming toward you. Winter weather means we should adjust our driving style to deal with different challenges to the rest of the year:
1. Driving in the rain
When the road is wet, it can take up to twice as long to stop, therefore it makes sense to slowdown when it’s raining. If your vehicle loses its grip, or “aquaplanes”, on surface water take your foot off the accelerator to slow down. Do not brake or steer suddenly because you have no control of the steering or brakes.
2. Driving in windy weather
In very windy weather we advise you to take extra care on the roads and plan your journeys by checking the latest weather conditions. High-sided vehicles are particularly affected by windy weather but strong gusts can blow a vehicle, cyclist, motorcyclist, or horse rider off course. This can happen on open stretches of road exposed to strong crosswinds, or when passing bridges or high-sided vehicles.
If you can avoid it, it is advisable not to drive through lying surface water as you might flood your engine. The deepest water is usually nearest the kerb. If you do have to drive through flooded roads, 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.
Use dipped headlights so other drivers can see you. If it is very foggy (less than 100m visibility) and you can’t see much, switch your fog lights on. Switch them off once conditions have improved so they don’t dazzle drivers behind you. Fog is often patchy so try not to speed up as visibility improves. You could suddenly find yourself back in thick fog further up the road.
5. Driving through ice and snow
Check for snow on the roof of the vehicle before you drive off. Snow can slip down over your windscreen and obscure your view. If your tyres are making virtually no noise this could be a sign you’re driving on ice. If your vehicle skids depress the clutch and turn the steering wheel into the direction of the skid. When the vehicle straightens steer along the road. Don’t brake –it will just lock up your wheels and you’ll skid further.
Please contact us if you require additional information.
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Brighton East Sussex
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