Sunday, 2 November 2008


Be aware of cyclists at all times -Pedal Right Cycling in Buncrana


Winter is certainly upon us and road conditions at this time of year need to be closely monitored. Modern cars, with their traction control systems, efficient heating and window demisting systems and ABS brakes are much better able to cope with hazardous driving conditions than the cars of 10 or 20 years ago. As a result, there is the danger of being lulled into a false sense of security when driving in poor weather, particularly when it’s freezing and wet. For instance, it is worth noting that ABS brakes, while almost always an advantage in poor weather, do not increase the available grip. So here are a few tips and pointers that will reduce the likelihood of either accidents or breakdowns over the cold winter months.


Clear all snow from the car, including the lights.
De-mist and de-ice your car fully before starting your journey.
Take a blanket, Wellington boots, a spade and warm clothing.
On longer journey take some food and a flask with a hot drink.
Tell someone at your destination that you're coming and which route you will be taking so they can alert the emergency services if you don't turn up.
Be prepared to take more time over your journey.


A fully charged mobile phone
A Scraper and de-icer.
A warm coat and a blanket (in case you’re stranded).
A first aid kit.
A warning triangle
A can of spare fuel.
A fire extinguisher..
A torch.
A high-visibility jacket or vest.
A tow rope
Jump leads


When it’s icy, or there’s snow on the ground, multiply stopping distances by 10. Use the highest gear possible to avoid wheel spin and do manoeuvres gently, avoiding harsh braking and acceleration.If you start to skid, gently ease off the accelerator and steer in the direction you’re skidding. Don’t panic.If you get stuck in snow, rock the car gently to free it. If you get stuck, call for help and stay with your car.
In fog, slowdown and use your dipped headlamps. Don’t follow the taillights of the car in front or you’ll probably end up travelling too close to it.The roads might not be frozen close to home, but conditions can change quickly on the journey so take care. Keep an eye on the exterior temperature gauge if your car has one.
When making long journeys in poor weather conditions, take a break more often than you normally would. The extra concentration needed will make you tired more quickly.
Other drivers may not know as much as you think you know about winter driving techniques. Give them lots of space.


Cars have a harder time during the winter so it makes sense to do some basic checks. These checks are advisable all year round, but more so in the winter. If you are in any doubt about how to check certain elements of the car, then a professional garage is the answer. These are things that a good garage mechanic will check for you that you might not be aware of:

Anti-freeze strength. Generally, there should be more anti-freeze in the cooling system in the winter than during the rest of the year.

Windscreens: Windscreen washer reservoir should be well topped up with appropriate screen wash containing anti-freeze additives. The wiper blades will need to be in good condition, they should be replaced if they’re worn.

Batteries: Dead batteries account for a large percentage of breakdown services’ call-out lists. This is because cold starts place an extra strain on the car’s battery, as does the increased use of the headlights and demisters. If your car is sluggish to start in the morning, consider replacing the battery.

Tyres: Low tread or unevenly worn tyres are dangerous, particularly during the winter months. A tread depth of around 3mm is recommended to be safe. Don’t forget to check the spare, too.

Air Con: Even in winter air-conditioning needs to be used for at least an hour a week. This allows the coolant in the system to lubricate all of the moving parts and prevents the build-up of elements, which can corrode pipe work.

Fluids: It’s especially important that you continue to regularly check all of the fluid levels, lights and tyre pressures through the winter. If you find something awry, fix it before you set off.


Cyclists and pedestrians are put at extra risk through winter, particularly children on their way home from school. Drink-driving is another hazard of winter as the festive season gets underway.Slow down, especially around schools, to give yourself more time to adjust to the reduced visibility in the dark and poor weather. Be on the lookout for pedestrians and cyclists that are far harder to spot in murky winter weather.Get your children some reflective clothing that helps them to stand out when they’re walking or cycling. It doesn’t have to be unfashionable. Be patient with cyclists and give them a wide berth in case they suddenly swerve to avoid standing water or potholes.Don’t drink and drive. It’s far safer not to drive, even after just one drink. Indeed, there’s no failsafe guide for working out when you might be over the limit - it depends on your height, weight, age, metabolic rate and what you’ve had to eat and your stress levels.It’s very easy to still be over the limit the morning after a party, so don’t be tempted to drive when you wake up. If you really pushed the boat out the night before, you might well need to leave the car keys on the hook until lunchtime or beyond.

No comments:

Other stories

Related Posts with Thumbnails