Workplace Winter Driving Tips - Fact or Fiction?
With winter on its way to us in the UK, and whether it's a cold one or not this year, if you drive for a living, winter brings with it some extra risks. It's not just about driving in the rain and snow, there is ice to worry about, sleet and fog, to say nothing of the shorter days which lead to more driving in the dark.
We've looked at some popular driving tips for winter and sorted out the fact from the fiction to give you the edge on driving safely through the coming winter.
If you start to skid you should steer into it.
FACT: If you start to skid, focus on the direction in which you wish to travel and steer that way.
If you do have to drive in snowy or icy conditions you should try not to use the brakes and slow down by using the gears instead.
FACT: This depends on the circumstances. You should make sure that the vehicle is moving in a straight line when decreasing or increasing the speed and any use of the controls should be a smooth as possible.
If you need to start a vehicle in the snow or ice (particularly when parked on a slope), you'll need to rev hard to get the vehicle moving.
FACT: You need to be careful - hard revving can compact the snow under your tyres and make it too slippery and smooth. Instead, you need to make sure that you are pulling with the drive wheels (go forward in a front wheel drive vehicle and backwards in a rear wheel drive vehicle) and accelerate smoothly.
As long as the windscreen is clear of snow, it's safe to drive.
FACT: It is vitally important to clear the windscreens of snow but you need to clear all the other windows as well. Clear the roof too as snow will often slip down from the roof and block vision when the vehicle is in motion.
Fog lights are only for use in fog.
FACT: This is not necessarily the case. Fog lights are suitable for driving conditions that make it difficult to see other vehicles - you can be pretty sure that if you're finding it difficult to see others, they are also finding it hard to see you. However, using fog lights unnecessarily can result in glare, making driving less safe.
It's safe to drive a little faster at night because there is not so much traffic on the road.
FACT: While it's true that there are fewer vehicles on the road at night, it's also the case that everybody else is likely to be thinking the same way as you and driving a little faster. This means that any collisions that do occur are likely to be at a higher speed and more likely to result in injuries. Keeping your own speed low is one way of making sure that if you are involved in a collision the damage is kept to a minimum.
I have a modern vehicle and the technology is there to protect me if I get things wrong.
FACT: although innovative modern technology is making cars safer than ever nowadays (and continues to do so), this shouldn't be relied on. ESP, ESC, ABS, they all provide an advantage in as much as they react instantly and will choose the best way to get the vehicle back on track, if possible. However, they do need some grip in order to function effectively so can't be relied on in slippery conditions.