We’ve all been there. The cold, dark, early starts where you lose all sensation in the ends of your fingers, as you slowly trudge towards the vehicle-shaped silhouette. Winter mornings can be miserable, but they can also be very dangerous. The peak in car crashes throughout the winter months isn’t just down to loss of concentration as you think about what to get your nearest and dearest for Christmas, the conditions play an unmeasurable part in proceedings. Luckily for you guys, we’re on hand to deliver some crucial tips that could prevent your meticulously maintained piece of metal from smashing into someone else’s meticulously maintained piece of metal.
First off, is your car prepared for the winter? Have you had a winter health check or fitted winter tyres? Whilst not essential, these could prove pivotal in keeping you and your vehicle safe during the bitterly cold weather conditions experienced over the coming months. Secondly, are you prepared? Pack your car with items that could be crucial should you be involved in a minor collision or a breakdown. Carry a warm coat and a blanket in the car with you at all times, without air-conditioning, you don’t know how cold it is out there… or how long it will be before someone comes to rescue you! Don’t forget drinking water and some light snacks. Being cold is one thing, but being cold and hungry doesn’t bare thinking about. Get yourself an iPad, a charger, download Candy Cru… I digress, the latter of course aren’t important, but keeping yourself warm and fed are vital!
Next up, think about the weather conditions and the roads you have to drive on. Is is a perilous route that could be plagued with black ice? Is there a more sensible option for you to take to work that might mean you have to sit in traffic or take ten minutes longer, but it is inherently safer? Be sensible, don’t try and be smart, icy roads will win and that’s not something to take lightly.
Change the way you drive! Adapt to the conditions, just because during the summer you could get away with being 20 metres from the car in front of you, as you cruise through Oxford’s city centre, it doesn’t mean you can now. Stopping distances are HUGELY different when there’s rain, let alone when there is ice or snow. Think about yourselves and fellow commuters who are just trying to go about their daily lives, give each other space and expect the unexpected, and give yourself time to react.
Think you can pull out just in time in front of that car come hurtling towards you at 60mph? Think again. Accelerating or braking in icy conditions doesn’t work. You will wheel spin and either end up in a crumpled mess, or look suitably silly in front of that attractive man/woman you were trying to impress. Similarly, braking hard isn’t conducive to bad weather, but it is conducive to taking a closer look at the car in front of you’s rear bumper.
Lastly, don’t drive if you don’t have to or in fact it’s too dangerous. Sometimes the risks aren’t worth taking. If conditions get too bad, make the sensible choice and put your journey on hold, after all, can it be that important?
All jokes aside, be careful out on the roads this winter. Look after yourselves and look after each other. If you see someone struggling, stop and offer to help and spread some Christmas cheer!
Added: 23 November 2016