Ice & snow: avoiding winter driving accidents
With weather forecasters today suggesting that temperatures could reach -10 degrees ice and snow on the roads is likely to remain a hazard for drivers for the immediate future.
Icy roads cause difficult driving conditions that often lead to an increase in road accidents. However, by taking a few extra precautions many winter road accidents can be avoided. The Driving Standards Agency and the Highway Code rules 229, 230 & 231 provide information about driving in icy conditions and drivers should consider the following points when making any journey when the roads are affected by ice and snow:
Clear away ice and snow: By law you must be able to see clearly therefore it is important that all snow and ice is removed from your vehicle windscreen, windows and mirrors. You should also remove any snow that may fall from your vehicle into the path of another road user.
Keep informed: Check local road information bulletins and take note of road, weather and traffic conditions and make sure that your planned route is open and free from delays.
Check the road conditions: Drivers should remember that the local authority has no duty to prevent ice from forming on the roads and therefore every driver must satisfy themselves as to the road conditions when driving in freezing temperatures. Check your grip on the road surface when there is snow or ice by choosing a safe place to brake gently.
Keep your distance. Vehicle stopping distances on icy roads can be 10 times greater than in dry conditions.
Take your time. Always allow more time for a journey in icy conditions.
Slow down. Generally drivers should drive at much lower speeds and remember to brake and accelerate gently on icy roads to avoid losing control of their vehicle.
Take care when overtaking vehicles spreading salt or de-icer, particularly if you’re on a motorcycle or cycle.
Be prepared. Depending on the length of journey consider taking an emergency kit in case you get stuck or your vehicle breaks down.
Taking extra precautions will help to keep you safe when driving in difficult conditions. However, accidents on icy roads are common and if you are unfortunate enough to be involved in a road accident you should contact a personal injury solicitor for advice.
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