As the temperatures drop, the nights get darker, and the weather worsens, driving in winter can be difficult and potentially hazardous. Drivers need to manage all the usual dangers of the roads, as well as driving in potential snow, slippery ice, wind, heavy rain and freezing temperatures. In fact, according to Motor Easy, 21% of all crashes in the UK between December and March are linked to treacherous winter conditions.
The statistics are even higher for our Glasgow neighbours, as they came out on top as the city with the highest percentage of road collisions caused by winter weather. Almost 2 in 5 road traffic accidents that occur during the winter months in Glasgow are caused by the treacherous winter weather we experience each year.
With the news that here in Scotland, forecasters are predicting snow and freezing temperatures in the run up to Christmas 2021, we thought it was time for a refresh on how to drive safely in winter weather. As whilst you can’t control the weather, you can make sure that your car is ready and prepared for the unpredictable driving conditions that a Scottish winter brings, helping to keep both you and other drivers on the road, safe.
If you do get into a road traffic accident that isn’t your fault this winter, get in touch with the team here at Bonnar Accident Law. We have significant experience handling these types of claims and will work tirelessly to win the maximum financial settlement possible. If you’d like more information get in touch today, or keep reading to find out what’s on our winter driving safety checklist.
Winter Driving Preparation
Vehicle maintenance is vital year round, but with the added risks posed by winter weather, it’s more important than ever at this time of year to make sure your car is properly equipped. Poor vehicle maintenance combined with treacherous winter conditions can add up to some serious consequences on the roads. Here’s our top tips to make sure your car is prepped and ready for the winter weather:
Top Up your Windscreen wash
Check you have enough windscreen wash to for maximum visibility, ensuring that the type you’re using is suitable for cold conditions (many windscreen washes come with antifreeze to make sure it doesn’t freeze in temperatures as low as -10°C or even -20°C).
Check your Wiper Blades
Make sure your wiper blades are in good condition so they can clear heavy rainfall, snow, frost and dirt from your windscreen. Most blades are only good for around 6-12 months. They don’t cost much to replace and the safety benefits they provide are priceless.
Check your Battery
As the winter months creep, you’ll make more use of your car’s lights and heaters. As such, your car engine must work that much harder and therefore, is far more likely to die. If you’re waiting with the engine off, try to avoid using the heater and radio, as these will drain the battery and could leave you without enough power to re-start the engine. If you’ve had your battery for more than 5 years, it could be worth investing in a new one as we head into the winter period.
Check Your Lights
Make sure all your car lights are in good working order so you can see, and be seen, on dark evenings and rainy days. In wintry conditions there’s often a lot of dirty spray from the road surface that can coat and dim your car lights. Regularly give them a good wipe to help visibility and take a walk around the car before you head out to make sure they’re all working.
Winter Driving Tips
According to the AA, stopping distances can be 10 times longer when it’s icy so gentle manoeuvres and slow speeds are the key to safe driving in ice and snow. Before you head out, try to plan your route around major roads if possible as these are more likely to be cleared and gritted. Make sure that you have plenty fuel, at least a quarter tank, and be sure to clear all windows using a scraper and de-icer. Don’t set off until your windscreen is fully demisted.
When driving, try pull away in second gear not first, as this will allow for more control over the car. If manoeuvring or breaking, the key is to do so slowly and gently, so no harsh or quick movements that could unsettle the car.
Drive slowly, leaving plenty space between you and the car in front to allow for longer stopping in times, and in case of any unseen obstacles. If you’re driving uphill, leave plenty of room, try keep a constant speed and avoid changing gear whilst on the hill. If you’re driving downhill, slow down before you reach the hill, put yourself in a low gear, and avoid breaking.
Winter Driving Essentials
Whilst some of these essentials are necessary year round, if you’re driving during the unpredictable winter weather, it’s crucially important to keep certain items tucked away in the boot of your car. In these situations, it’s better to be over prepared in case you are involved in a road traffic accident, in the snow or ice. Here’s our top picks for a Winter Car Survival Kit:
- Ice scraper and de-icer
- Torch and spare batteries
- Fully charged phone and an in-car phone charger
- First aid kit
- Warm clothes, gloves, waterproofs and high-vis jackets
- Sturdy footwear
- Sunglasses for the winter sun
- Hot drinks, water and snacks
- Jump start cables
- Sat nav or printed route map
What to do if you are involved in a road traffic accident
We completely understand how distressing it is to be involved in a road traffic accident. Just try your best to stay calm and remember as many details as you can, as these can help to support your claim if you weren’t at fault. Try to record the following:
- Names, addresses and contact details of all drivers involved
- Vehicle registration details for all vehicles involved
- Accident date and time
- Accident location
- Full contact details of any witnesses
Most importantly of course, if necessary, seek medical attention as soon as possible and report to your GP following any hospital admissions. And remember to always report the accident to the police.
If you have been injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault and you would like more information, please get in touch with one of our No Win No Fee solicitors today.