Here are BOC’s top tips for drivers when out and about in winter weather.

  • Check the outside temperature. Last winter was unusually warm averaging 5.5°C so don’t be complacent this year – check the temperature before you set off. It may be colder than you think or drop later in the day. Low temperatures affect the condition of roads, paths and walkways.
  • Don’t forget your sunglasses. The sun is very low in winter skies meaning it can dazzle you ─ not only through its direct glare but also from reflections on wet road surfaces. Make sure you’ve got some shades in your vehicle.
  • Clean your windows. Any marks and smears on your windscreen can block your view, so make sure your windows are clean. And when the sun is behind you, a driver coming towards you may not see you properly. Allow an extra margin for safety.
  • Take extra care at traffic lights. Can you tell which of the 3 lights in a traffic light is illuminated? If the sun is shining into the lights’ lenses or directly behind them, it can be hard to tell whether you’re seeing green or red. It’s always worth double checking.
  • Never guess the depth of water. When roads flood, you can never tell how deep the water is. Don’t be tempted to guess and do not continue if you’re not confident of the depth.
  • Beware of black ice on bridges and overpasses. Because air can circulate both above and below an elevated roadway, its surface temperature drops more rapidly than on normal roads. Slow down when on a bridge.
  • Remember, fog is slippery. Fog without rain creates a slippery coating on road surfaces. Don’t forget this. Many people think fog only causes bad visibility.
  • Be extra careful in the rain. Although fog is often considered the worst weather condition for visibility, it’s not always. As well as hail, heavy rain and spray from the road can be just as blinding.
  • Drive slowly in snow and ice. The chances of skidding are much greater and stopping distances increase dramatically in snow or ice so driving within the speed limit can even be dangerous. If you need to stop, take your time. Get into a low gear earlier than normal, allow your speed to drop and then brake gently.
  • Take more breaks than usual. Driving in adverse conditions is more tiring. You need to plan more stops than you would at other times of the year.

For more information on driving at winter visit the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents. 

Michelle Phillips
Operations Safety Manager, SHEQ