So the winter weather warnings have finally arrived with the UK being put on Amber warning for Snow and yellow warnings for ice, rain and wind.
Bar the threat of a bizarrely named ‘weather bomb’ before Christmas the UK hasn’t really seen the full effect of winter in terms of the weather and there has been limited disruptions or effect on the conditions of the roads.
But over the next few days it would seem, according to the MET office that all this could change, so now is as good as anytime to offer UK motorists a few tips on how to stay safe when using the roads throughout the dark winter nights.
- Learn the Colour Warnings – You might have been wondering what we were talking about when we mentioned amber and yellow weather warnings. If you didn’t know what each meant then we will tell you. Green is no severe weather, a yellow weather warning is to urge you to be aware, amber is to be prepared for bad weather and red is where the weather is so bad that you should take action. You can read more about what action to take in each instance on the met office website.
- Make Sure Your Vehicle is Roadworthy – Take absolutely no chances when it comes to using your vehicle in the winter and make sure you take advantage of the fact that garages up and down the UK usually offer free vehicle checks in the winter to ensure your car is safe to use.
- Know your road signs – Road signs are not just there to decorate the sides of the roads, they can often be the difference between having an accident and not so make sure you are up to date with what they mean and keep an eye out for them when on the road.
- Plan Ahead – If you have a journey that absolutely has to be made make sure you plan what route you are taking and ensure you know where you are going. Make sure you have everything you will need in case of an emergency, such as first aid kit, blankets, torch, warm clothing, water, warm drinks in a flask, energy foods and fully charged mobile phone. The last thing you want is to break down in cold, dark wintry conditions and not be able to contact anyone to get help, but whatever you do, don’t text or call while driving.
- Do not trust other motorists – Might sound a bit harsh, but it is the best way to ensure you remain safe on the roads. Obviously with it being winter, icy conditions can be expected and with ice comes longer breaking distances and a far higher risk of accident. Make sure you are giving the driver in front enough distance in order for you to break so that any potential recklessness from them does not put you at risk of injury. Also be careful of blind spots and give extra room than usual for larger vehicles.
- Don’t trust pedestrians or cyclists – Year upon year pedestrians, motorcyclists and cyclists are injured or killed in accidents on or at the roadside. Sometimes this is down to the recklessness of motorists but on a lot of occasions it is also down to their own carelessness. You might think that the pedestrian will look before crossing the road but they are cold and just want to get to a from b, so they will try and get there as quick as possible without looking. You might think that cyclist is going to indicate to turn but it is winter, they are cold and want to get to where they are going as quick as possible so guess what? They might just forget. Make sure you give plenty of room for the more vulnerable road users so that if their concentration is not where it should be, yours will ensure that everyone goes home in one piece.
- Don’t Rush your Journey – If you have followed our first tip then your car should be in working order and you should have heating inside your vehicle so there should be no reason to rush any part of your journey. Avoid overtaking completely and in icy conditions, make sure you accelerate gently and use low revs when changing gears upward. Speed kills, it is not just a cliché, it is true, so take your time. It is better to get home safely in an hour than not at all.
- Look at weather reports before setting off – Don’t leave anything to chance when it comes to the weather where you are and the weather where you are heading to. Be sure to keep an eye on the MET Office for the weather forecasts. If the weather is particularly bad on any part of the route that you are planning to take you can then make the decision on whether to use the road or no.
- Stay off the roads in severe conditions – Be sensible and stay off the roads if the conditions are bad. That trip to the shop can wait until the morning or if it is local enough, walk instead. Even that long distance trip to visit family can wait until the conditions are safer. It is better to delay and make the journey another day, than go and not complete the journey.
- Let people know where you are going – Wherever it is possible let people know your intentions when using the road so that if the worst does happen and you get stranded, somebody knows that you set off to use the road and where you were going and therefore will have an increased chance of getting help to you.
By following the tips above you should be able to stay safe using the roads throughout the winter period should, as predicted, the weather take a turn for the worse.
Sadly there will always be people who do not listen to the advice offered and will drive dangerously.
If you are unfortunate enough to end being injured in an accident caused by somebody else’s negligence then you can contact us today and one of our personal injury specialists will advise you on whether you can claims for personal injury compensation.
1. Pexels; Burak K; https://www.pexels.com/photo/photo-of-snow-field-near-trees-1978126/