December 14, 2021
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Driving is one of the most dangerous activities we undertake and we often do it without thinking about it. Most of us will have at some point arrived at our destination and not been able to remember parts of the journey. We treat driving as second nature and yet over 1000 people die in vehicle accidents each year.

Whilst at work, drivers can be at increased risk, often thinking about the appointment they are on our way to, the distance they need to travel, driving a vehicle they may be unfamiliar with or driving at times outside of the normal working day. It is important to remember that we do not just pose a risk to ourselves as at-work drivers, our actions impact upon everyone on the road including, other drivers, cyclists and pedestrians.

In winter the risks can be even greater with bad weather and longer nights making driving more hazardous. A single journey may take us into very different weather, road and traffic conditions so we need to be prepared for each one.

The following tips may help you cope better with whatever the season has to throw at us.

Prepare Your Vehicle

  • Buy a screen wash with anti-freeze properties and when filling the car wash bottle, follow the dilution instructions for winter/icy conditions. Keep the screen wash topped up.
  • Clean and de-ice your windscreen, side and rear windows plus lights thoroughly prior to setting out on your journey.
  • Carry a cloth, de-icer and scraper in the car so that you can repeat the cleaning process each time you stop.
  • Make sure the battery is fully charged.
  • Make sure you have sufficient fuel.
  • Check tyres regularly including pressure, tread depth and overall condition.
  • Tyre pressure affects steering, grip and braking. Lowering the pressure in your tyres may provide for additional grip in snowy conditions but remember to re-inflate to the correct pressure when the temperature improves. Do not lower your tyre pressure unless you know by how much.

Prepare Your Journey

  • Plan your journey carefully so that you don’t have to rush.
  • Stick to major routes where possible and allow extra time for your journey.
  • When driving for long distances on a motorway plan regular breaks to be taken at service stations so that you can repeat the cleaning process.
  • In extreme weather conditions consider whether it may be necessary to re-schedule your appointment.
  • Try to avoid remote roads wherever possible.
  • Listen to local/national weather broadcasts and travel bulletins.

Prepare Yourself

  • Keep sunglasses in the car for eye protection against dazzle by low winter sun.
  • Avoid stopping on the hard shoulder wherever possible. If necessary leave the motorway at the next exit.
  • Carry a pair of sensible shoes/warm clothing/torch and shovel in the car in case you break down.
  • In wet, icy or snowy conditions reduce your speed. Stopping distances will be greater. Keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front.
  • Try to avoid braking suddenly, slow the car down by reducing gear. If you lose control, steer in the direction of the skid.
  • Make sure you have a fully charged mobile telephone with you on your journey.

Drive Safely

  • Reduce your speed and drive according to the road and weather conditions, maintain greater stopping distances (double in wet weather and ten times greater in icy weather).
  • Avoid harsh braking or acceleration. Carry out any manoeuvres slowly and carefully.
  • Never feel pressurised to complete a journey if weather conditions are too dangerous.

It’s important to remember that when we drive we don’t just risk our own safety, we also risk the lives and safety of our passengers, drivers and passengers of other vehicles, vulnerable road users such as motorcyclists, cyclists, horse riders and pedestrians. Be mindful that people and animals can act in an unexpected manner for example a pedestrian may cross the road without looking for traffic, a cyclist may swerve to avoid a pot hole or a child may run out in front of you.

Every day, people make incredible agreements with people they never meet.

  • I will hurtle towards you at up to 60 miles per hour.
  • You will hurtle towards me at up to 60 miles per hour.
  • We will each pass on the left.
  • And we’ll aim to miss each other by 23 inches.
  • Your missile will weigh a ton or more, and so will mine.

So remember, it’s vitally important that we all take responsibility to do everything we can to manage the risks when driving. Not driving safely puts not only your life in danger but also the lives of those around you.

For more information please contact us at [email protected]