Every year thousands of motorists get caught out by winter weather. It is essential that you carry out simple safety checks on your car before the onset of winter:
- check your tyres, do they have enough tread and are they properly inflated?
- check your anti-freeze and top it up if required
- check your battery to see if it needs charged or replaced
- check your windscreen wipers and demisting system, and top up your washer bottle regularly
- check your lights - are your bulbs all working and are your lights clear from snow or dirt?
- keep your car clean - road salt reduces visibility and quickly damages body work
If you are not sure about doing these checks yourself, garages will do a winter service for you. These are cheaper than normal services and cover all the things that can go wrong in winter.
Driving in winter
Not surprisingly, the accident rate greatly increases at the first sign of ice and snow. Even a small amount of snow can have your car skidding all over the place and make climbing a hill impossible. If you do get caught follow these tips:
- bring your speed down to a crawl
- make allowances for other drivers and give your signals in plenty of time
- keep plenty of distance between you and the car in front - stopping distances are much greater in snow and ice
- when driving up hills keep well back and let the car in front get over the top, select a high gear and build your speed up, keep your speed up as you climb and then select a lower gear than normal when going down the hill.
If you do get stuck in snow a plastic shovel (snow sticks to metal), blankets and emergency supplies are a must. If the situation is really serious it is advisable to remain with the car until help comes. If you use the heater, make sure the exhaust pipe is not blocked with snow as death from carbon monoxide poisoning can result. Watch out for ice under slushy snow or under an overnight snowfall, and keep an eye open for places such as overhanging trees and bridges where black ice can form.
The festive drink drive campaign
The Festive Drink Drive campaign focuses on raising public awareness of the dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol.
Drivers should be aware of how the effects of alcohol vary from person to person and that there is only one way of ensuring that you aren't over the limit and that is to avoid drinking any alcohol if you are going to drive.
If you are out for the night and intend driving the next morning, be aware that you may still be over the limit even if you feel fine. A good night's sleep, shower and a breakfast may make you feel fine but it does not reduce the alcohol in your system. A recent report regarding drivers caught drink driving the morning after, showed that it would be another five hours before many of them would have been under the legal limit.
For further information regarding the current campaign visit www.dontriskit.info