With temperatures dropping day by day, icy roads are becoming more and more prevalent across the country. Icy roads pose a multitude of problems for all road users, the most well-known of these being that they increase your stopping distance by a factor of 10, among many others.
To help you better manage these difficult road conditions we’ve put together a number of safety tips to keep in mind over the winter.
Slowing down is the single most important thing to do when driving on icy roads. High speed makes it both easy to lose control and difficult to stop. You should never be driving faster than 45mph inany vehicle when roads are icy.
The best way to avoid an accident on an icy road is to simply stay off the roads until the threat passes.
It should go without saying that you should wear your seatbelt at all times. During the winter it’s even more critical that you do so. An alarming number of icy road fatalities occur with minor accidents where vehicle occupants were not wearing seat-belts.
Make the weather forecast part of your daily routine during the winter. Awareness of conditions will help you be more prepared to deal with them.
Brake application is a common trigger of slides that result in a loss of vehicle control. ABS (antilock brakes) do not work well on ice and will often lock up your wheels regardless. Sliding wheels are uncontrollable, that is, steering input will not change the vehicle’s direction if the wheels are sliding.
If you attempt to tackle a steep enough incline, there is little you can do to stop gravity from taking its toll so plan your route accordingly.
Use your dipped headlights so that others will see you. Make sure your headlights and taillights are all in working order, replace broken bulbs. Make sure lights are clear of ice/snow.
If the road looks polished or glossy it could be “black ice”, one of the most treacherous hazards as black ice is difficult to see! It is nearly transparent ice that often looks like a harmless puddle or is overlooked entirely. Watch out for black ice, especially in sheltered/shaded areas on roads, under trees and adjacent to high walls.
In prolonged icy driving conditions it is advisable to carry the following in the boot of the car:
High visibility vest
b. Tow rope
c. Spare bulbs
d. Spare fuel
e. A shovel
f. Appropriate footwear in case you have to leave your vehicle i.e. boots
g. A hazard warning triangle
h. Spare wheel (with tire at correct pressure and tread)
i. De-icing equipment (Both for glass and door locks)
j. First aid kit (in good order)
k. A fire extinguisher (fully operative)
l. A working torch
m. A car blanket, additional clothing & some food and water
Contact a member of our team to find out how our safety and compliance software can help ensure you “Stay Safe, Stay Smart and Stay Legal.