Is your vehicle ready to take on winter in Wiltshire? The Wiltshire Road Safety Partnership have some top tips for you.

Bad winter weather conditions can create dangers when driving.

Tips for driving with glare from the sun

The sun can also cause difficulties. In winter, the angle of the sun in the sky will frequently be too low for your visor to help. If blinded by glare:
• Reduce your speed
• Reduce the effect of glare by keeping both the inside and outside of your windscreen clean and grease free.
• If you wear sunglasses (with prescription lenses if necessary) take them off whenever the sun goes in. They should not be worn in duller weather or at night as they seriously reduce the ability to see. 

Tips for driving in fog 

Fog can be one of the most dangerous weather conditions to drive in. An accident involving one vehicle can quickly escalate to involve others, especially if people drive too close to each other.

If you must drive:

  • Follow weather forecasts and general advice to drivers in the local and national media
  • Allow plenty of extra time for your journey
  • Check your car before you set off. Make sure everything is in good working order, especially the lights
  • Switch on headlights and fog lamps if visibility is reduced
  • If you can see the vehicles to your rear, the drivers behind can see you - switch off your rear fog lamps to avoid dazzling them
  • Use the demister and windscreen wipers
  • Do not 'hang on' to the rear lights of the car in front as you will be too close to be able to brake safely
  • Switch off distracting noises and open the window slightly so that you can listen for other traffic, especially at crossroads and junctions
  • Beware of speeding up immediately if visibility improves slightly. In patchy fog you could find yourself 'driving blind' again only moments later
  • If you break down, inform the police and get the vehicle off the road as soon as possible. Never park on the road in fog and never leave it without warning lights of some kind if it is on the wrong side of the road.

Be mindful of aquaplaning

Aquaplaning is caused by driving too fast into surface water. When the tyre tread cannot channel away enough water, the tyre(s) lose contact with the road and your car will float on a wedge of water. 
Aquaplaning can be avoided by reducing speed in wet conditions. Having the correct tyre pressure and tyre tread depth will maximise your tyres' ability to maintain their road grip.

If it happens, ease off the accelerator and brakes until your speed drops sufficiently for the car tyres to make contact with the road again.

Driving on flooded roads? Don't risk it if avoidable.

• Avoid the deepest water - which is usually near the kerb.
• Don't attempt to cross if the water seems too deep.
• If you are not sure of the water's depth, look for an alternative route.
• If you decide to risk it, drive slowly in first gear but keep the engine speed high by slipping the clutch - this will stop you from stalling.
• Be aware of the bow wave from approaching vehicles - operate an informal 'give way' with approaching vehicles.

Remember to test your brakes when you are through the flood.

Is your car ready to take on winter?

With winter upon us, temperatures are dropping and conditions are changing, it is a good idea to ensure your vehicles are prepared for the various seasonal weather hazards.

Check the following on your vehicle:
• Lights are clean and working
• Battery is fully charged 
• Windscreen, wiper blades and other windows are clean and the washer bottle filled with screen wash
• Tyre condition, tread depth and pressure (of all the tyres, including the spare)
• Brakes are working well
• Fluids are kept topped up, especially windscreen wash (to the correct concentration to prevent it freezing), anti-freeze and oil

It is a good idea to stock up on de-icer, windscreen wash, oil and anti-freeze.

Taking a longer trip? Have you got an Emergency Kit in your car?

When extreme weather is possible, keep an emergency kit in your car, especially if you're going on a long journey. If this seems unnecessary, take a moment to imagine yourself stranded in your car overnight, due to a snow storm or floods. How would you stay warm? What would you eat and drink? If you must drive in these conditions, we recommend that you carry:
• Tow rope
• A shovel
• Wellington boots
• A hazard warning triangle
• De-icing equipment
• First aid kit (in good order)
• A working torch
• A car blanket
• Warm clothes
• Emergency Rations (inc hot drink in a flask - non-alcoholic, of course)
• Mobile Phone (fully charged).


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