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Winter driving advice

Lincolnshire Road Safety Partnership (LRSP) advice for driving in winter weather.

Winter Road in Lincoln

Winter Road in Lincoln

It makes sense to make sure your vehicle is in good running order now, before the cold weather sets in.

  1. Have your anti-freeze checked at a garage to make sure it is still working and at the correct strength.
  2. The garage can check your battery to make sure it is reliable under load.
  3. Make sure your windscreen is free from defects, chips or cracks. Replace worn wiper blades.
  4. Check your lights are working and the head lamps are adjusted correctly.
  5. Ensure your tyre tread has not reached the legal limit and they are correctly inflated.

Regular servicing and checking your vehicle before setting off on a journey will reduce your chances of breaking down.

In rural Lincolnshire it is always good practice to carry an emergency kit. These few simple items stored in your car can make the difference when stranded, and may prevent you from being a casualty.

  1. First aid kit.
  2. Torch and spare batteries.
  3. Warm clothes and a blanket.
  4. Boots.
  5. Reflective warning sign.
  6. Ice scraper and de-icer.
  7. Food and a warm drink in a thermos.
  8. Shovel.
  9. Jump leads.
  10. Sunglasses for the glare off snow.
  11. Fully charged mobile phone – remember not to use your phone while driving.

Driving tips

  1. Look out for changes in road surface – some surfaces are less resistant to ice forming.
  2. Ice forms on bridges as there is no contact with the ground to warm the bridge
  3. Where shade is cast onto the road ice will not melt.
  4. Isolated roads may not be gritted.
  5. Use your gears and engine braking to slow down. If you have to use your brakes, do so in a straight line before entering a corner.
  6. Before setting off it is worth checking travel updates to make sure there are no problems on your route.
  7. Consider fitting winter tyres, these have high silica content and offer more grip in wet and ice conditions.
  8. Clear ALL windows properly, demist the inside too before setting off.
  9. Your stopping distance is 10 times greater than normal, stay away from the car in front.
  10. Accelerate slowly; try pulling away in 2nd gear to avoid wheel spin.

If you get into a skid then in the first instance remove the cause. If you are skidding due to speed, take your foot of the accelerator pedal and if you are sliding on ice due to braking, take your foot off the brake pedal.

Dealing with understeer (front wheel skid)

Steer into the skid and then back out moving the steering wheel 4 to 6inches on each movement. When the wheels get a grip then you car wheels should be pointing in the direction of travel.

Dealing with oversteer (rear wheel skid)

Apply opposite lock, you will generally do  this naturally however try not to over do this movement and return the wheel to its neutral position once the car has got back into balance. Do not use power to get you out of this situation unless you have been trained to do so!

Preparing for winter

Be prepared for the very worst case should it all go wrong. Make sure you plan your route and you have a road map as a back up to your SatNav.

Get a travel update before you set off and listen to the travel and weather news as you go. If the weather is bad and the forecast is for it to get worse – do you need to travel at all?

If you do need to travel and your car has been prepared for winter driving and you have your emergency kit, please ensure your windscreen is clean, the other windows are free from snow and ice and properly demisted.

Clear snow off the roof, bonnet and boot of the car. Even at slow speed ice and snow can slip over your windscreen and obscure your view and present a hazard for other road users.

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Last updated: 29 November 2017

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